The first commercially successful DSP processor, the TMS32010, was introduced by Texas Instruments in 1982. In an effort to provide high throughput on key DSP operations, the TMS32010 coupled specialized hardware for accelerating multiplications with a dual-bus (Harvard) memory architecture for keeping the processor fed with data. This combination formed the cornerstone of traditional DSP processor architecture for many years.

Until recently, DSP processor designs were improved primarily by incremental enhancements; new DSPs tended to maintain a close resemblance to their predecessors. In the last few years, however, DSP architectures have become much more interesting, with a number of vendors announcing new architectures that are completely different from preceding generations.