Multiple Core Propeller Speeds Up Display Addressing


If you ever wondered what an eight-core Propeller processor can do for you, [Tom] found one answer. He’s using the multiple cores to individually address serial displays. He has six display modules, and each of them incorporate six 8×8 LED modules. This makes for a total of 2304 LEDs, and since they’re addressed by cascading serial data, that means 2304 bytes pushed to the display. You’re going to suffer from quite a bit of slow-down if you choose that communication method.

This is where multiple-cores come in handy. Instead of cascading data between the six modules, he assigned a different core to each. Now he can concurrently address the six displays, reducing his serial data from 2304 bits per frame down to 384 bits per frame. As you can see in the video after the break, updating the display six times as fast as before yields fantastic results.

Now what if you’re using a processor that has forty of these multi-core Propeller chips?

This does make us wonder, can’t the same thing be done on a single-core processor? An eight-bit device takes one cycle to set all eight bits on a single port. So why not just connect the six serial connections on six bits of the same port? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

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