An illustration of the SpursEngine SE1000 processor
An illustration of the SpursEngine SE1000 processor

SpursEngine is a microprocessor from Toshiba built as a media oriented coprocessor, designed for 3D- and video processing in consumer electronics such as set-top boxes and computers. The SpursEngine processor is also known as the Quad Core HD processor. Announced 20 September 2007.[1]

The SpursEngine is a stream processor powered by four Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE),[2] also used in the Cell processor featured in Sony PlayStation 3. These processing elements are fed by on chip H.264 and MPEG-2 codecs and controlled by an off die host CPU, connected by an on chip PCIe controller[2] (in contrast to the Cell processor which has an on chip CPU (the PPE) doing similar work). To enable smoother interaction between the host and the SpursEngine Toshiba also integrated a simple proprietary 32-bit control core. The SpursEngine employs dedicated XDR DRAM as its working memory.[2]

The SpursEngine is designed to work at much lower frequencies than the Cell and Toshiba has also optimized the circuit layout of the SPEs to reduce the size by 30%.[3] The resulting chip consumes 10-20 W of power.

The SpursEngine is accessible to the developer from a device driver developed for Windows and Linux systems. Software supporting the SpursEngine is limited and is primarily in the realm of video editing and encoding.[4]

Technical specification

Logic schematic of the SpursEngine chip[2]
Logic schematic of the SpursEngine chip[2]

The first generation of SpursEngine processors are specified as follows:


In April 2008 Toshiba shipped samples of the SpursEngine SE1000 device, a PCIe-based reference board.[5]

Toshiba included the SpursEngine processors in their Qosmio laptops, models F50, G50 and G55, in the third quarter of 2008.

See also


  1. ^ "New Toshiba SpursEngine based on CELL". I4U News. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "SpursEngine – Architecture Overview & Implementation" (PDF). Toshiba. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2009-11-14.[dead link]
  3. ^ "How Far has Cell DNA been Passed On? Interview with Toshiba SpursEngine Developer". Tech-On! Nikkei Business Publications. 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  4. ^ "Toshiba to make SpursEngine an open platform - SDK to be released for free and multiple SpursEngine cards to run in parallel". HD Processing Forum. 2008-12-23. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2010-01-04. External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Toshiba starts sample shipping of SpursEngine SE1000 high-performance stream processor". Toshiba. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Archived October 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Archived September 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine