The Digital Signal Processors are High Performance microprocessors and have significant advantages over the normal general purpose microprocessors: they execute all their instructions at single clock, they have ample resources to do math jobs including hardware multipliers, instructions for working with tables etc. So do not wonder why the Fast Fourier Transformation or Filter design made in assembler for DSP takes few lines of code and executes hundreds of times faster than on normal general purpose processors. Another neat feature is that DSP peripherals are *very* fast. You ask why - because these powerful devices are made to be feed fast with input info data and to be able to send back the processed info fast. The TMS320 C2000 base line for instance has microcontrollers with two build-in 12-bit ADCs with a sampling speed from 3.75 to 12.5 MSPS and enhanced PWMs with 150 ps resolution! The SPI and serial ports are also at least 10 times faster than the similar peripherals on general purpose microcontrollers.
Texas Instuments is the recognized leader in the DSP field and recently they released the world's lowest cost DSP with CAN - TMS320F28016 which costs only $3.60 in 1000 pcs quantity
OK, then if the DSPs are so good and the price the same as that of a normal 8-bit controller but offers so many more features, why are they not as widely used as PICs or AVRs?
Here is the catch - there were no low cost entry tools and starterkits for DSPs (until now). To start working with DSP you had to buy US $500-1500 JTAG emulator, to buy C development IDE for $500, and development board for another $500. To spend $2000 just to start learning new architecture is not a problem for an established company, but totally out of range for small startup companies, students, hobbyist and amateurs.
Now this is about to change! Olimex with the kind support of Texas Instruments releases the world lowest cost DSP development tools: TMS320-JTAG jtag and TMS320-P28016 development board.
We intend to put links to some interesting projects with Texas Instruments DSPs.
If you have seen or know project made with TI DSPs which you think may be interesting please let us know.