TriMedia (mediaprocessor)

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For PR agency, see Trimedia International.
Philips TriMedia TM-1100 die

TriMedia is a family of very long instruction word media processors from NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors). TriMedia is a Harvard architecture[citation needed] CPU that features many DSP and SIMD operations to efficiently process audio and video data streams. For TriMedia processor optimal performance can be achieved by only programming in C/C++ as opposed to most other VLIW/DSP processors which require assembly language programming to achieve optimal performance. High-level programmability of TriMedia relies on the large uniform register file and the orthogonal instruction set, in which RISC-like operations can be scheduled independently of each other in the VLIW issue slots. Furthermore, TriMedia processors boast advanced caches supporting unaligned accesses without performance penalty, hardware and software data/instruction prefetch, allocate-on-write-miss, as well as collapsed load operations combining a traditional load with a 2-taps filter function. TriMedia development has been supported by various research studies on hardware cache coherency, multithreading and diverse accelerators to build scalable shared memory multiprocessor systems.


Medusa TriMedia MCU


The first TriMedia was created in 1987 under the name LIFE-1 VLIW processor by Gerrit Slavenburg and Junien Labrousse. For the next several years LIFE was further matured internally in Philips under guidance of Gerrit Slavenburg, which resulted in 1996 in the introduction of the first Trimedia product: the TM1000 PCI Media Processor (introduced as TM-1 [1]). In 1998 the TM1100 and TM1300 (later renamed to PNX1300) products were introduced.[citation needed]

In 2000, Philips spun out its TriMedia business to TriMedia Technologies Inc. (TTI) which was a pure “IP vendor”. TTI tried unsuccessfully to create a 64 bit next generation TriMedia CPU architecture. This venture was ill-timed, as it was right at the start of the Dot-com recession. In 2003 what was left of TTI was re-absorbed within Philips.[2]

In 2002, the TM3260 CPU was released in the PNX1500 Media Processor SoC. This CPU was the first of a family of modular Trimedia CPU cores with standardized interfaces that can easily be integrated inside Audio/Video SoC's. The TM3260 has found use in other NXP products, e.g. the PNX8550 Home Entertainment Engine. In 2004 the super pipelined TM5250 CPU core was announced and won the Best Media Processor of 2003 [3] award from Microprocessor Report. This processor was made available in the PNX1700 Media Processor SoC.[4] These two CPU cores were designed by Jan-Willem van de Waerdt in close cooperation with Gerrit Slavenburg.[citation needed]

In 2005, the TM3270 was announced as a low-power H.264 capable incarnation of the TriMedia architecture (see external links to papers below), first released in the PNX4103 SoC.[5]

In 2006, Philips Semiconductors as a whole was spun off from Philips and was renamed to NXP.[6]

In 2009, the PNX1005 became available, using the latest TM3282 CPU core. This CPU is the first TriMedia to have 8 issue slots. It also adds more operations for H264 and video optimization, data-cache pre-allocating and a bit-stream coprocessor for entropy en/de-coding. It is also the first TriMedia to have a real-time trace block.

In 2010, the TriMedia group at NXP was terminated.


Core year 1st


ISA Features Cache (I/D) KB frequency

(worst case)

introduction technology
TM1000 1997 TMA0 32/16 100 MHz 500 nm
TM1100 1998 TMA1 32/16 133 MHz 350 nm
TM1300 1999 TMA1 32/16 166 MHz 250 nm
TM3260 2002 TMA2 binary compatible with TM1300 64/16 250 MHz 130 nm
TM5250 2004 TMA3 128 KB L2 data cache,

allocate on write miss, hardware prefetching, super pipelined (high speed)

64/16 450 MHz 130 nm
TM2270 2006 TMA3 96 GPRs (small area) 32/16 290 MHz 90 nm
TM3270/1 2006 TMA4 + ASE low power 64/128

64/32 32/16

350 MHz 90 nm
TM3282 2009 TMA4 + ASE2 8-issue, pre-allocate, bit-stream coprocessor, real-time trace 64/128 400 MHz 90 nm
TM? 2009 TMA4 + ASE2? 8-issue? ?/? 500 MHz 45 nm[7]

The TriMedia cores are typically used in home, mobile and automotive products (see as an example Philips' Streamium networked multi-media products). They are used as deeply embedded CPUs in SoCs as well as general purpose DSPs. Some SoCs even have multiple TriMedia cores such as the PNX5100 that contains three TM3271 cores.[8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]