Performance Analysis of Digital Signal Processors Using SMV Benchmark

Unlike general-purpose processors, digital signal processors (DSP processors) are strongly application-dependent. To meet the needs for diverse applications, a wide variety of DSP processors based on different architectures ranging from the traditional to VLIW have been introduced to the market over the years. The functionality, performance, and cost of these processors vary over a wide range. In order to select a processor that meets the design criteria for an application, processor performance is usually the major concern for digital signal processing (DSP) application developers. Performance data are also essential for the designers of DSP processors to improve their design. Consequently, several DSP performance benchmarks have been proposed over the past decade or so. However, none of these benchmarks seem to have included recent new DSP applications. In this paper, we use a new benchmark that we recently developed to compare the performance of popular DSP processors from Texas Instruments and StarCore. The new benchmark is based on the Selectable Mode Vocoder (SMV), a speech-coding program from the recent third generation (3G) wireless voice applications. All benchmark kernels are compiled by the compilers of the respective DSP processors and run on their simulators. Weighted arithmetic mean of clock cycles and arithmetic mean of code size are used to compare the performance of five DSP processors. In addition, we studied how the performance of a processor is affected by code structure, features of processor architecture and optimization of compiler. The extensive experimental data gathered, analyzed, and presented in this paper should be helpful for DSP processor and compiler designers to meet their specific design goals.