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MediaTek Aims to Cut Audio Cords

January 31, 2017

Author: Loyd Case

Apple’s iPhone 7 and other mobile devices are shedding analog audio connectors, paving the way for a larger wireless-headphones market. MediaTek has stepped into this fray by offering the MT2533, which integrates an ARM Cortex-M4F with a Tensilica DSP. The new chip targets wireless-audio products such as Bluetooth headphones, wireless speakers, and automotive hands-free audio systems. It runs at a maximum clock frequency of 208MHz and employs system-in-package (SiP) technology to add more RAM and storage. The MT2533 is scheduled to ship in volume later this quarter, with products expected by 4Q17.

The MT2533 bears a strong similarity to the MT2523. Both have a Cortex-M4F that includes a 32KB L1 cache, and both incorporate 4MB of flash as well as 4MB of pseudostatic RAM (PSRAM) on secondary die inside the package, fleshing out the on-chip 160KB SRAM. The new MT2533 incorporates hardware dynamic frequency scaling from 1.6MHz to 208MHz, as does the older MT2523. MediaTek builds both chips in the same 55nm LP process. At 6.2mm x 5.8mm x 1.05mm deep, the package size compares favorably with that of other Bluetooth audio SoCs, such as the CSR BlueCore, which is 8mm x 8mm x 0.9mm deep.

Relative to the MT2523, the MT2533 adds a Tensilica HiFi Mini DSP to handle audio chores. The HiFi Mini provides always-on listening for hands-free voice control or voice communications. It comes with its own 128KB instruction memory, 250KB DRAM, and 96KB SRAM for storing speech-recognition algorithms. Like the MT2523, the new processor has a 256-bit AES crypto engine and true-random-number generator (TRNG) as well as a five-channel 12-bit ADC for connecting with external sensors. MediaTek also builds in a variety of I/Os, including SPI, I2C, I2S, GPIO, and UART.

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