Source of Figure : http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/sora/rcbv2.jpg
1. MSR Software Radio is a high-performance software radio platform based on multi-core general purpose CPU.
2. MSR Software Radio comes with a high-speed, low latency Radio Control Board (RCB) that is based on PCIe bus.
3. It provides 6Gbps system throughput and sub-microsecond latency for digital symbol transmissions and RF controls. Thus, it supports wide-band wireless communication (>100MHz) and time-sensitive MAC protocols (e.g. 802.11).
4. In contrast , USRP v2 usually achieves system throughput less than 1Gbps with much higher latency.
5. MSR Software Radio makes full use of multi-core CPU for high efficient digital signal processing.
6. MSR Software Radio is completely written in C/C++ and use static scheduling to improve the processing efficiency.
(To see difference between static and dynamic scheduling go to http://gnuradiousrp.blogspot.in/2012/11/static-vs-dynamic-scheduling.html )
7. MSR Software Radio supports core dedication. Core dedication can exclusively allocate CPU cores for DSP without interrupts from other applications on the same system. Thus, MSR Software Radio ensures the real-time property for SDR applications.
8. MSR Software Radio runs in kernel mode as a network driver. It provides a normal Ethernet interface to the upper-layer stack. Thus, existing network applications can run and be tested without modification.
9. With MSR Software Radio, one can implement full 802.11a/b/g PHY and MAC (up to 54Mbps data rate) and use it to communicate seamlessly with commodity hardware NIC.
10. SORA has 2-level automatic gain control scheme. This can be found in bbb_spd.c BB11BSpd function.
11. The RF components are not made by MSR. Current you can use either USRP RF daughter-board (XCVR2450) or WARP RF daughter-board from Rice.
The above information has been taken from http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/sora/