Current and next-generation consumer electronics such as mobile and home entertainment devices must deliver extremely high-quality audio, video, image, and graphics performance in order to be competitive. Enterprise applications benefit from technologies providing higher throughput data movement, especially important for scientific/high-performance computing and data mining. These advanced processing requirements are optimized and accelerated with SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data), important technology for modern CPU designs that improves performance by allowing efficient parallel processing of vector operations.
In consumer electronics, while dedicated, non-programmable hardware aids the CPU and GPU by handling heavy-duty multimedia codecs, the MIPS SIMD Architecture (MSA) technology incorporates a software-programmable solution into the CPU to handle emerging codecs or a small number of functions not covered by dedicated hardware. This programmable solution allows for increased system flexibility. In addition, the MSA is designed to accelerate many compute-intensive applications by enabling generic compiler support.
The MSA technology was implemented with strict adherence to RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) design principles. MIPS architects designed the MSA with simple instructions that lead to less complex implementations. The carefully selected, simple SIMD instruction set is not only programmer- and compiler-friendly, but also hardware-efficient in terms of speed, area, and power consumption. The MSA technology specification is extensible and able to accommodate future requirements.