Case Studies

Harnessing the Power of AltiVec in Modern COTS Applications

July 04, 2017

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A customer approached Curtiss-Wright with a requirement for a radar processing tech refresh for their aging fleet of fast jets. With an existing Power Architecture-based system using AltiVec® vector algorithms, they did not want to spend the time or resources switching to an alternate architecture, which would not only cause potential performance issues, but necessitate the recreation of new algorithms with the movement to a different vector processor.

Despite wanting to keep Power Architecture as their architecture of choice, their 7447A processors were legacy – low performance and power hungry. They were looking to upgrade to a cost-effective next-gen Single Board Computer (SBC) with faster execution, additional memory, and lower power consumption that would enable them to reuse their current AltiVec vector library.


Our customer’s new Power Architecture system based on the T2080 chip provides their application with more performance, and allows the reuse of their existing algorithms and AltiVec instruction set. Using COTS hardware also greatly reduced their time to market over redesigning their system. Four 7447A processors consume double the power of one T2080 processor, yet only allow the system to run at approximately half the T2080’s speed. This means that by keeping the same number of SBCs in their system, the T2080 reduces our customer’s power consumption by over half over their legacy 7447A processors, and more than triples their performance in the same footprint.

Using COTS modules in their system saved our customer a lot of money on their tech refresh over the cost of their original system, and with our Total LifeCycle Management services offering longevity of supply protection on their modules, they can rest assured their system will be a reliable workhorse for years to come!

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