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Subject:  Re: RM Ranker TXN Q1 2000 Date:  5/18/2000  12:52 PM
Author:  geoffchase Number:  6259 of 8329


Intel last year bought a company called DSP Corp. They make custom DSP's which brings up a point I can clarify here (first at least).

There are two basic types of DSP:

1. general programmable: TI and others make these and they are what are in wireless handsets etc. They are generic embedded computers that are typically programmed in C or Assembly. They serve a variety of functions.

2. Custom: these are also typically programmable but have significantly reduced instruction sets and are additionally hardware designed for specific functions that occur in the application they were designed to serve (eg audio). Note that #1 can usually do the function of #2, but not vice versa.

So, why #2 at all. Well two reasons, often you want the simplest, cheapest, lowest power chip you can get to do a job. #2 fits this bill more often than #1 in terms of cost and power dissipation (consumption). Cost is obvious and the more power something dissipates the more energy it requires (read: batteries it eats).

There are also ASIC's Application Specific Integrated Circuits. These are effectively hardwired (may have very small fixed program running) circuits that do very specific tasks. They are even cheaper and typically lower power, not to mention faster, than #1 and #2. Why not ASIC's?? Well, you lose upgrade flexibility and programmability and other useful features for a company planning on future products.

Each has it's own area and region of usefulness and typically complex systems are combinations of these three types of chips.

So, back to Intel. DSP Corp is a big maker of #2 style chips, they dont have a #1 that I know of. They also do many different telecom oriented designs for ASIC's which would include CDMA chipsets (wyhich are a combo of #2 and ASIC's run by a #1 and/or an ARM Microcontroller when someone puts it all together in a product).

Hence, I dont see Intel really competing with TXN very soon. More likely they will both be supplying many similar folks, each from their own area. Tho you cant count Intel out, they are not up to anywhere near the level of TXN and the others yet in that area and it's a very competitive area. More so than many folks think. For example, the japanese are major players with Toshiba and NEC in the #2 and ASIC's area as are many others. IMO, it's awhile before Intel is a major threat to TI in #1 or #2.


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