INSIGHTS | August 7, 2010

Parallax Propeller P8X32A Quick Teardown

Parallax has a really neat 8 core 32 bit CPU called the ‘Propeller’.  It’s been out for a few years but it is gaining popularity.  There is no security with the device as it boots insecurely via a UART or I2C EEPROM.  None the less, we thought it was interesting to see an 8 core CPU decapsulated!

One can clearly see 8 columns that appear almost symmetric (except in the middle region).  The upper 8 squares are each ‘cogs’ 512 * 32 SRAMs as described in the manual.  The middle left 4 and right 4 squares are the ROM’s Parallax describes.  The 8 rectangular objects are the 32KB SRAM as described.  The 8 cores are basically the 8 columns above the middle ROM’s to include the 512 * 32 SRAMs because they describe each cog as having it’s own 512 * 32 SRAM :).

Last but not least is the logo by Parallax.  Nice job Parallax on this beast!  We have one favor-  implement some flash on the next generation with a security bit ;).