This chapter starts by summarizing the basic hardware alternatives available for DSP system design. We then look in detail at some of the issues and considerations involved in implementing a system using a single-chip DSP device. This is the chapter that contains most of the practical advice on actually putting your algorithms into practice on some DSP hardware. You will also find supporting information in Chapter 8, which describes a typical development flow for a DSP design in the context of design decisions.
It is possible to implement DSP algorithms on any computer hardware, for example a PC, but the rate at which you want to process information determines the optimum hardware platform for your application. There is a basic divide here between real-time and non-real-time DSP applications. Real-time applications include audio playback processing, speech compression in mobile communications, etc. Non-real-time applications may be seismic data processing, data compression for storage on prerecorded CD-ROMs, and so on. This book is only concerned with real-time digital signal processing, so PCs, etc. are ruled out of our discussion.
There are four categories of hardware platform widely used for real-time DSP implementation: general-purpose DSP devices, specialpurpose DSP devices, bit-slice processors and general-purpose microprocessors. Let's look at each one briefly and see where it fits into the picture.