There are different types of digital signal processors which are classified based on their RAM size, ROM size, clock frequency, data bus width, Input/Output voltage and MMAC, MIPS or FLOPS. In terms of RAM size, the processors are classified in configurations from 24 KB to 125 MB to 1GB. The commonly used ROM sizes are 8 Bytes and 4 KB, but larger sizes up to 1GB are also available.
Because of the development of more powerful processors, software synthesis is gradually making a comeback. The Motorola DSP56001 is a widely used DSP chip. It runs at 25 MHz and can synthesize a basic guitar module at 44.1 kHz. The chip may be costly at present but its price is falling at a fast pace while its processing speed is rising at a rate of almost 100% with every new version.
The dsp chip is a basic processor having extensions for signal processing. This makes it easier to program compared to earlier music processing engines. The control software used in Samson Box is based on over one hundred man-years of software input. On the other hand the DSP-based software used in NeXT Computers has very little man-years and will require lesser amount of software effort for reaching the same level of completeness.
DSP chips are designed for applications like audio signal processing, speech processing/recognition, audio/video recognition, digital communications, digital image processing, radar applications and seismology. Some of the examples of applications of these processors include seismic data processing, transmission of voice in mobile phones, industrial process analysis, MP3 compression, CAT scans and in computer graphics.
A type of digital signal processors, embedded chips are used in portable devices such as PDAs, MP3 players, digital watches and digital cameras. They are also used in larger systems like DVD players, printers, video game consoles and traffic lights. Another example of DSP chips is the Intel Pentium processor. Intel has added dozens of new powerful instructions to the chip for efficient manipulation and processing of audio, video and graphical data.