SpursEngine is a microprocessor from Toshiba built as a media oriented coprocessor, designed for 3D- and video processing in consumer electronics such as set-top boxes and computers. The SpursEngine processor is also known as the Quad Core HD processor. Announced 20 September 2007.
The SpursEngine is a stream processor powered by four Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE), also used in the Cell processor featured in Sony PlayStation 3. These processing elements are fed by on chip H.264 and MPEG-2 codecs and controlled by an off die host CPU, connected by an on chip PCIe controller (in contrast to the Cell processor which has an on chip CPU (the PPE) doing similar work). To enable smoother interaction between the host and the SpursEngine Toshiba also integrated a simple proprietary 32-bit control core. The SpursEngine employs dedicated XDR DRAM as its working memory.
The SpursEngine is designed to work at much lower frequencies than the Cell and Toshiba has also optimized the circuit layout of the SPEs to reduce the size by 30%. The resulting chip consumes 10-20 W of power.
The SpursEngine is accessible to the developer from a device driver developed for Windows and Linux systems. Software supporting the SpursEngine is limited and is primarily in the realm of video editing and encoding.
The first generation of SpursEngine processors are specified as follows:
- Built with a 65 nm bulk copper CMOS fabrication process with 7 metal layers
- 9.98 mm × 10.31 mm (102.89 mm²) large die
- 239.1 million transistors (Logic: 134 M, SRAM:104.8 M)
- Thermal design power: <20 W
- Max frequency: 1.5 GHz
- Packaged in a 624 pin FC-BGA (Flip Chip-Ball Grid Array)
- Peak performance at 48 Gflops, 12 Gflops per SPU @ 1.5 GHz.
In April 2008 Toshiba shipped samples of the SpursEngine SE1000 device, a PCIe based reference board.
- The accelerator card connects to a 1x PCI Express bus and has 128 MB XDR DRAM with 12.8 GB/s.
- Leadtek is producing the WinFast PxVC1100 and HPVC1100, internal and external PCIe accelerators based on the SE1000 platform.
- Thomson-Canopus has announced the Firecoder Blu, a PCIe accelerator based on the SE1000 platform.
Toshiba included the SpursEngine processors in their Qosmio laptops, models F50, G50 and G55, in the third quarter of 2008.
- "New Toshiba SpursEngine based on CELL". I4U News. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- "SpursEngine – Architecture Overview & Implementation" (PDF). Toshiba. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2009-11-14.[dead link]
- "How Far has Cell DNA been Passed On? Interview with Toshiba SpursEngine Developer". Tech-On! Nikkei Business Publications. 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- "Toshiba to make SpursEngine an open platform - SDK to be released for free and multiple SpursEngine cards to run in parallel". HD Processing Forum. 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- "Toshiba starts sample shipping of SpursEngine SE1000 high-performance stream processor". Toshiba. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- Toshiba's Demos SpursEngine-Equipped Qosmio, Uses Cell Broadband Engine Technology, Gizmodo.com
- Cell Users Group - SpursEngine
- Cell-based GPU zaps laptop batteries, admits Toshiba – The Register