ARC Introduces the New VRaptor(TM) Media Architecture: A Configurable and Scalable Solution for Complex Media Processing Tasks

SAN JOSE, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—October 9, 2006— ARC International (LSE: ARK) today introduced a new architecture that will meet the high definition (HD) media processing requirements in a wide array of consumer devices. The ARC(R) VRaptor(TM) Media Architecture will scale from simple MP3 decode to complex HD H.264 encode using an architecture that efficiently exploits parallelism in advanced media applications. ARC's VRaptor Media Architecture will support multiple ARC 750D CPUs with media extensions, multiple vectorized 128-bit SIMD processors, high performance streaming I/O, and domain specific accelerators. All can be connected by ARC's new active communication channels technology. The ARC VRaptor Media Architecture will be the foundation of ARC's next-generation Media Subsystems, the first of which will be available to system-on-chip (SoC) designers globally in early 2007.

Legacy "fixed architectures" aren't well suited to meet the requirements of highly complex -- yet power sensitive -- media-oriented processing tasks. As an example, a generic 32-bit RISC processor could require as much as 18 GHz for standard definition (SD) H.264 encode or 5 GHz for MPEG-4 encode. ARC's VRaptor Media Architecture leverages the power of its patented configurable technology to deliver an elegant implementation that capitalizes upon application-level parallelism. ARC's VRaptor Media Architecture will require only 200 MHz for SD H.264 encoding, while retaining all of the benefits of a programmable solution.

"The new VRaptor architecture has been designed from the ground up with the needs of media-intensive applications in mind," said Peter Hutton, senior vice president of engineering at ARC International. "VRaptor takes a holistic approach to SoC design by integrating configurable, scalable hardware and software with an optimized interconnect solution. This is a radically different approach to helping customers overcome their SoC design challenges compared to the industry's usual processor-centric dogma."

Details of the ARC(R) VRaptor(TM) Media Architecture:

Vectorized SIMD Media Processors

Multiple configurations of ARC's award-winning 128-bit SIMD processors are capable of handling a variety of media operations such as deblock filters, pixel transforms, and audio processing in the ARC VRaptor Media Architecture. Each have a rich array of arithmetic, logical, and control instructions, configurable and programmable vector and scalar registers, as well as a set of application specific instructions that are specifically tailored to accelerate complex operations. They will be connected via ARC's active communication channels technology to optional configurable media accelerators that are capable of performing repetitive, computationally intensive tasks such as motion estimation or entropy encoding in the case of video encoding, and to VRaptor's I/O devices for DMA operations.


Because VRaptor is a heterogeneous multi-core architecture, the configurable ARC 750D CPUs, vectorized SIMD media processors, dedicated hardware accelerators, and I/O devices are programmed with the same tools and interconnected with ARC's active communication channels technology. This will simplify the software development process and enable SoC designers to easily include codecs and algorithms over time, extending the market life of chips based upon the VRaptor Architecture.

Configurable and Scalable

The VRaptor Architecture can scale from a single ARC 710D CPU up to multiple configurable ARC 750D CPUs, each with multiple media processors, multiple accelerators, and multiple I/O devices. The smallest instantiation will be less than 0.5 mm2 in a 90nm process.


Each vectorized media processor has been created using ARC's patented configurable technology, and extended from a base configuration of an ARC 750D CPU. This will ensure instruction-level compatibility with the ARCompact(TM) ISA and allow support by the same toolsets that support other ARC subsystems and processors. Included are MetaWare and GNU tools, which provide extensive profiling, debug, and assembly level support. These are being enhanced to include a vectorized compiler and fast models.

Low Power

As with all ARC products, the VRaptor Architecture is being designed with low power requirements in mind, including power down features, and real time software and hardware tradeoffs.

Active Communication Channels Technology

The patent-pending active communication channels technology in the VRaptor Media Architecture is an active channel protocol that is based around Remote Invocation. It provides point-to-point links in hardware between the VRaptor cores, VRaptor accelerators and VRaptor I/O elements, and carries commands as well as data. The active communication channels technology is supported directly by new instruction extensions in ARC's configurable ISA, and eliminates message interpretation overhead. It provides for a unified programming model that simplifies the programming overhead that is often associated with multi-processor architectures.


The ARC VRaptor Media Architecture is being implemented in ARC's next-generation Media Subsystems, the first of which will be available to SoC designers globally in early 2007. For more information contact ARC International at or visit

About ARC International plc

ARC International is the world leader in configurable subsystems and CPU/DSP processors that are used by semiconductor companies worldwide to create system-on-chip (SoC) designs that provide a strategic competitive advantage. ARC's patented configurable products are smaller, consume less power, are less expensive to manufacture, and provide a higher degree of differentiation over what can be created using "fixed architecture" core alternatives.

ARC International maintains a worldwide presence with corporate and research and development offices in California and Elstree, UK. For more information visit ARC International is listed on the London Stock Exchange as ARC International plc (LSE: ARK).

ARC, the ARC logo, ARCompact, and VRaptor are trademarks or registered trademarks of ARC International. All other brands or product names contained herein are the property of their respective owners. This press release may contain certain "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties, including the development, implementation, and release of features described herein. These are at the sole discretion of ARC International. For other factors that could cause actual results to differ, visit the company's Website as well as the listing particulars filed with the United Kingdom Listing Authority and the Registrar of Companies in England and Wales.


ARC International
Lee Garvin Flanagin, +1 408-437-3433
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