Digital signal processor

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Digital signal processors (DSP) are integrated circuits designed to process digital signals, such as video and voice data, in realtime. They use highly parallel SIMD (single instruction multiple data) instruction sets, and use fixed-point arithmetics as opposed to floating point arithmetics. As such, they are mostly suited for specialised applications.

Atari Falcon

The Atari Falcon was the only Atari computer that was equipped with a digital signal processor, the Motorola 56001. This made it a highly capable machine especially for the recording of music considering the ability to add realtime effects and filters. Innovative programming techniques also put the 56001 to work as a general coprocessor, performing certain tasks in parallel to the CPU to achieve tasks the 68030 CPU may ordinarily not have been able to do on its own.

Examples of such tasks include:

  • Realtime playback of MP3s, which was not achievable by contemporary computers of similar processing power to the Falcon like the Amiga 1200 and Apple Mac LC\30
  • Fast decompression of JPEG images
  • Production of realtime visual effects in demos and graphics software

Atari Jaguar

The Jaguar contained a 32-bit digital signal processor embedded in the Jerry processor

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