Home > News & Events > Press Releases > January 9, 2012

Tensilica’s HiFi 3 DSP IP Core Provides Over 1.5x Better Performance for Audio Post Processing and Voice in Smartphones and Home Entertainment

Quad 24- and 32-bit Architecture Enables Better Performance, Lower Power and Optimized Memory Footprint for High-Performance Algorithms

Santa Clara, CA USA- January 9, 2011 -Tensilica, Inc. today announced the HiFi 3 audio/voice DSP (digital signal processor)  IP (intellectual property) core for SOC (system-on-chip) design. This fourth-generation audio DSP offers higher performance with lower power for high-performance audio post-processing and voice processing algorithms used in smartphone and home entertainment systems and expands Tensilica's market-leading HiFi architecture to quad 24/32-bits.  Tensilica has already licensed HiFi 3 to a tier one smartphone OEM and a tier one semiconductor manufacturer.

"The HiFi 3 DSP is the natural evolution of our popular HiFi 2 architecture, which is the most popular licensable audio DSP core and has been designed into millions of smartphones, Blu-ray Disc players, digital televisions, cameras, and other devices," stated Larry Przywara, senior director of multimedia marketing. "HiFi 3 was initiated based on smartphone OEM and semiconductor manufacturer needs for better power efficiency of high-performance voice and audio post-processing functions.  In particular, the HiFi 3 DSP achieves greater than an 80 percent increase in performance for the FFT (fast Fourier transform), FIR (finite impulse response), and IIR (infinite impulse response) math functions that are essential in audio pre- and post-processing, plus a greater than 1.5x improvement in performance for most voice codecs compared to HiFi EP. This performance boost helps significantly reduce the power consumption requirements for leading edge algorithms."

The HiFi 3 audio/voice DSP is upwards software compatible with the proven HiFi 2 and HiFi EP audio/voice DSPs, so the entire existing library of over 90 HiFi-optimized audio and voice codecs, and audio enhancement software packages, will run on HiFi 3 cores with improved performance. In addition, Tensilica has further optimized the most demanding multi-channel audio software packages to run even more efficiently on the HiFi 3.  As an example, HiFi 3 can support DTS-HD Master Audio for Blu-ray Disc in only 233 MHz.  HiFi 3 carries over the assets of HiFi 2 to enable easy programmability for companies wanting to port their own proprietary audio software packages and builds on this to add improved code porting productivity from a further simplified programming model.

The Growing Requirements in Audio Post Processing and Voice

Most of the innovation occurring in audio today is in post processing with sophisticated algorithms such as volume leveling, dialog clarity, volume boost, spatial expansion, equalization, and gaming with requirements to support 32 or more simultaneous audio streams and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) for interactive game play.  These complex algorithms are being designed into smartphones, home entertainment systems, and gaming consoles.

Voice requirements in smartphones are significantly outpacing Moore's Law and battery technology. While today's narrow band voice codecs and basic noise suppression can be satisfied with about 200 MHz of audio DSP horsepower, these requirements will exceed 600 MHz in a few years with the widespread deployment of the AMR-WB (adaptive multi-rate wide band) voice codec, the Skype SILK super wideband codec for VoIP, improved noise suppression, and other pre-processing functions such as noise-dependent volume control.

Meeting these Requirements

The HiFi 3 audio/voice DSP addresses these new requirements with over an 80 percent increase in performance for the FFT, FIR and IIR algorithms commonly used in post processing resulting for example in a 1.8x performance improvement on DTS-HD Master Audio post processing compared to HiFi EP.   For speech it offers direct support for common ITU operations enabling greater than 50 percent performance improvement on many voice codecs, with significantly reduced porting effort.

The HiFi 3 audio/voice DSP is a 3-way VLIW style DSP based on Tensilica's Xtensa Dataplane Processor (DPU) architecture with four MACs (multiply accumulate units), a 64-bit load/store unit, and a unified 16-entry 64-bit audio register file.


HiFi 3 has already been delivered to lead customers with general availability in March.

About Tensilica

Tensilica, Inc. is the leader in dataplane processor IP cores. Dataplane processors (DPUs) combine the best capabilities of DSPs and CPUs while delivering 10 to 100x the performance because they can be optimized using Tensilica's automated design tools to meet specific and demanding signal processing performance targets. Tensilica's DPUs power SOC designs at system OEMs and seven out of the top 10 semiconductor companies for designs in mobile wireless, telecom and network infrastructure, computing and storage, and home and auto entertainment. For more information on Tensilica's patented, benchmark-proven DPUs visit www.tensilica.com.

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Editors' Notes:

  • Tensilica and Xtensa are registered trademarks belonging to Tensilica, Inc. All other company and product names mentioned are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
  • Tensilica's announced licensees include:  Afa Technologies, ALPS, Aquantia, Astute Networks, Atheros, AMD, Avision, Bay Microsystems, Brocade, Broadcom, Cavium, Chelsio, Cisco Systems, CMC Microsystems, Conexant Systems, Design Art Networks, EE Solutions, Epson, Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Microelectronics, Huawei, iBiquity Digital, Ikanos Communications, Intel, Juniper Networks, LG Electronics, Lucid Information Technology, Marvell,  Maxim, NEC Corporation, Nethra Imaging, Novatek, NuFront, Olympus Optical Co. Ltd.,  Panasonic Mobile, Plato Networks, PnpNetwork Technologies, PowerLayer Microsystems, QLogic, Samsung, SiBEAM, Sirius XM Radio ,Sony, Stretch, TranSwitch Corporation, Triductor Technology, Valens Semiconductor, Validity Sensors, Victor Company of Japan (JVC), and Wolfson Microelectronics.