Tensilica’s Diamond Standard Series processor family consists of ten ready-to-use, synthesizable cores that range from area-efficient, low-power controllers to its licensable DSP, popular audio processor, and video processor family. The Diamond Standard processor family is based on Tensilica’s Xtensa configurable and extensible processor architecture, proven in hundreds of SOC (system-on-chip) designs. It is therefore easy for designers to bridge to Tensilica’s Xtensa processor product line if additional customization is required.

This white paper explores the design of the Xtensa base instruction set architecture (ISA) and illustrates the impact of architecture on performance. It traces the evolution of modern instruction-set design and compares key features of Tensilica’s architecture with previous instruction set architectures. It also provides a detailed explanation of major architectural innovations in the Xtensa ISA.