Sun Microsystems Inc is building a microJava 701 processor for use in networking devices using an enhanced 2.0 version of its 32-bit picoJava design featuring better support for C and C++ programs in addition to executing Java code natively. Sun says microJava 701 can be implemented where web serving and conventional programs must execute in […]
Sun Microsystems Inc is building a microJava 701 processor for use in networking devices using an enhanced 2.0 version of its 32-bit picoJava design featuring better support for C and C++ programs in addition to executing Java code natively. Sun says microJava 701 can be implemented where web serving and conventional programs must execute in addition to Java-based network or protocol management. PicoJava 2.0 includes the same picoJava 1.0 Java byte code execution engine, but implements some software-based virtual machine functions directly in hardware to handle row-level hardware management, device driver requirements and other tasks. While microJava 701 will execute the 226 Java bytecode instructions directly, C and C++ code will have to be compiled into machine code the instruction set architecture can understand before it can be processed. Sun has already licensed MetaWare Inc to create versions of its compiler for use with the chip and others are likely to follow. Existing programs will have to be recompiled for microJava. The difference between the picoJava machine instruction set and a conventional RISC like Sparc is its design point: picoJava implementations will be cheap, low-power and used in a range of embedded devices. New consumer devices that have no requirement to run C or C++ programs will use 100MHz picoJava implementations, which ten companies have licensed. microJava 701 operates at 200MHz and will be built in an 0.25 micron process. It’s supposed to available in the second half of next year and Sun expects to ship it to early Java adopters building dedicated devices such as point-of-sale terminals, green-screen replacements and information kiosks in the second half of next year. Reports suggest it’ll cost around $70, though Sun wouldn’t confirm this figure. For what it’s worth the chip performs 13,332 CaffeineMarks. It’ll execute up to four instructions per cycle. It supports SRAM, ROM, flash memory and a PCI controller. It has integer and floating-point units, 16Kb instruction and data caches. The device will be manufactured in an 0.25 micron design process and will operate at 200MHz using 2.5volts internally. It’ll generate four Watts of heat at that speed with a 33MHz PCI bus and 66MHz memory bus and has a 16-pin GPIO port for smart cards. The 2.8m transistor chip measures 50mm square. It’ll run JavaOS and other real-time operating systems though Sun’s microelectronics division says it doesn’t know whether it’ll offer EmbeddedJava, PersonalJava or BusinessJava on the thing. It’s also not clear whether device manufacturers will utilize picoJava 1.0 or move straight to picoJava 2.0. Manufacturers already licensed to build Java chips include Nortel, LG Semicon Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc, Rockwell Collins Inc, NEC Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Xerox Corp. Sun says other microJava 70-0 series processors will follow, in addition to the high-end UltraJava. Why Series 700? It’s one better than out competition, says Sun, by which we take it to mean the IBM Corp and Motorola Inc PowerPC 600 series embedded chips.