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A low-power programmable processor named icyflex1 was designed combining features of a digital signal processor (DSP) and a micro-controller unit (MCU). Implemented as a synthesizable VHDL software intellectual property core, the processor implements a broad range of power saving features including its customizable architecture and reconfigurable instruction set. Its performance is compared with other processors from the market and values are given for its integration in a 180 nm technology. The processor targets applications with tight power consumption constraints and correspondingly significant processing performance.