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NEC and MIPS Technologies Announce Windows CE Operating System Support for 64-Bit Microprocessors

Reflecting increased market acceptance of high-performance, power-efficient 64-bit embedded processors, NEC Corporation and its semiconductor affiliate in the United States, NEC Electronics Inc., and MIPS Technologies, Inc. today announced that the new Microsoft® Windows® CE “Talisker” Beta 2 operating system includes 64-bit support. Microsoft announced the availability of “Talisker” Beta 2 on August 13, 2001. Jointly sponsored by the three companies, the latest version of Windows CE will take full advantage of the capabilities of NEC’s high-performance embedded line of 64-bit MIPS-based(TM) processors. “Talisker” Beta 2 technology is also fully compatible with the industry’s only licensable 64-bit embedded processor architecture and cores available from MIPS Technologies.

“The demand for high-performing Windows-Powered multimedia devices continues to grow, and Microsoft, NEC and MIPS Technologies are committed to providing the technology to meet this need,” said Keith White, senior director of marketing for the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. “The combination of ‘Talisker’s’ rich multimedia functionalities and NEC’s 64-bit MIPS-based embedded chip offerings will enable OEMs to deliver high-performing Windows CE-based set-top boxes and other data-intensive smart devices.”

The Microsoft Windows CE operating system, which includes the Platform Builder comprehensive toolkit for building Windows CE-based OS images, offers a compelling platform for creating high-performance consumer products because of its rich multimedia functionality and other features that enable designers to build smart devices that run Windows applications and connect to the Internet. Embedded processors based on the MIPS architecture, including those manufactured by NEC, offer an innovative combination of hardware floating-point unit, 64-bit data, graphics extensions, SIMD (single-instruction, multiple data) support for streaming video and audio, and deep, multi-issue pipelines. By processing more than one instruction per clock cycle, multi-issue CPUs allow system designers to reduce CPU clock frequencies to achieve a required level of performance. Minimizing the clock speed greatly simplifies OEM design and testing tasks while greatly reducing power dissipation and electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. Microsoft has optimized Windows CE to take advantage of these processor capabilities.

NEC’s family of high-performance 64-bit embedded chips for digital consumer, office automation and internetworking applications includes the VR5432(TM) and VR5000(TM) processors, and NEC’s newest processor, the VR5500(TM). The VR5500 chip is rated at an impressive 600 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS at 300 MHz. Such performance and power efficiency (2.0 D-MIPS/MHz) result from its dual-issue, 10-stage pipeline. System designers would have to use a 500 MHz processor to achieve this level of performance with other processor architectures. NEC’s processors are now fully supported by the Windows CE operating system and development tools.

MIPS Technologies’ long-established 64-bit architecture and low-power, high-performance MIPS64(TM) 20Kc(TM) and 5Kf (TM) processor cores are licensed by semiconductor companies and system OEMs. MIPS-based designs are found in embedded systems that meet the growing demand for high-quality 3-D graphics and streaming media in a variety of applications, especially consumer products such as Internet appliances, set-top boxes and high definition TVs (HDTVs).

Set-top boxes comprise one of the largest segments of the home entertainment market for 32- and 64-bit embedded processors. According to Gartner Dataquest, unit shipments will more than double, from 28 million in 2000 to 70 million in 2004.

“NEC and Microsoft have worked on the Windows CE operating system for more than seven years, and we have been using the MIPS architecture to develop leading 64-bit VR Series(TM) processors for even longer. This 64-bit capability in ‘Talisker’ Beta 2 technology is a very important step in our joint development of software and hardware with Microsoft, and is a key enabler to our continued drive toward 64-bit processing in the digital consumer marketplace,” said Katsuhiko Itagaki, director of the NEC Internet Platform Laboratory.

“The importance of 64-bit architectures becomes increasingly significant to the embedded market with the emergence of new information appliances that combine computing, communications, multimedia and encryption for secure information access, e-commerce, and entertainment,” said Kevin J. Meyer, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies. “As always, consumers continue to demand richer media and graphics that only 64-bit technology can provide. Full 64-bit support in Windows CE is an important step in meeting that demand.”

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