Texas Instruments TMS320

Texas Instruments TMS320

Texas Instruments TMS320 is a blanket name for a series of digital signal processors (DSPs) from Texas Instruments. It was introduced on April 8 1983 through the TMS32010 processor, which was then the fastest DSP on the market.

The processor is available in many different variants, some with fixed-point arithmetic and some with floating point arithmetic. The floating point DSP TMS320C3x, which exploits delayed branch logic, has as many as three delay slots.

The flexibility of this line of processors has led to it being used not merely as a co-processor for digital signal processing but also as a main CPU. They all support standard IEEE JTAG control for development.

The original TMS32010 and its subsequent variants is an example of a CPU with a Modified Harvard architecture, which features separate address spaces for instruction and data memory but the ability to read data values from instruction memory. The TMS32010 featured a fast multiply-and-accumulate useful in both DSP applications as well as transformations used in computer graphics. The graphics controller card for the Apollo Computer DN570 Workstation, released in 1985, was based on the TMS32010 and could transform 20,000 2D vectors/second.


The TMS320 architecture has been around for a while so a number of product variants have developed. The product codes used by Texas Instruments after the first TMS32010 processor have involved a very popular series of processor named TMS320Cabcd where a is the main series, b the generation and cd is some custom number for a minor sub-variant.

For this reason people working with DSPs often abbreviate a processor as "C5x" when the actual name is something like TMS320C5510, since all products obviously have the name "TMS320" and all processors with "C5" in the name are code compatible and share the same basic features. Sometimes you will even hear people talking about "C55x" and similar subgroupings, since processors in the same series and same generation are even more similar.

Outside the main series

C2000 Series

  • TMS320 C2000 series, or TMS320C2x, fixed point

C5000 Series

  • TMS320 C5000 series
    • TMS320C54x 16-bit fixed point DSP, 5 stage pipeline with in-order-execution of opcodes, parallel load/store on arithmetic operations, multiply accumulate and other DSP enhancements. Internal multi-port memory. no cache unit. A popular choice for 2G Software defined cellphone radios, particularly GSM, circa late 1990's. Many Nokia and Ericsson cellphones made use of the C54x in the late 1990's. At the time, desire to improve the user interface of cellphones led to the adoption of ARM7 as a GPP for user interface and control, off-loading this function from the DSP, and ultimately led to the creation of a dual core ARM7+C54x DSP, otherwise known as OMAP.
    • TMS320C55x generation - fixed point used in some OMAP chips

C6000 Series

Davinci Series

OMAP Variants

  • OMAP variants, these also have an ARM processor in the same chip, see main article on Texas Instruments OMAP. (There are also OMAP processors with other secondary processors, so these are not necessarily DSPs.)


is used for an inverter application

DA Variants

  • DA variants (target "Internet audio")
    • DA25x is an ARM processor and a C55x core. It has some on-chip peripherals like a USB slave controller and security features. Documentation of this chip is only available after signing a Texas Instruments NDA. These variants are used exclusively in the Creative ZEN and Dell Digital Jukebox MP3 players, as the primary CPU and signal processor for all processing of MP3 data streams.

DM Variants


The TMS320 series can be programmed using C, C++, and/or assembly language. Most work on the TMS320 processors is done using Texas Instruments proprietary toolchain and their integrated development environment Code Composer Studio, which includes a mini operating system called DSP/BIOS. Additionally, a department at the Chemnitz University of Technology has developed preliminary support for the TMS320C6x series in the GNU Compiler Collection. In November 2007 TI took steps towards a free software release of its toolchain by offering the bare compiler, assembler, optimizer and linker to non-commercial users. However, neither the IDE nor a debugger were included, so for debugging and JTAG access to the DSPs, users still need the proprietary toolchain.


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