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Microchip broadens 16bit portfolio with 49 MCUs, DSCs

Posted: 11 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? mcu? analog semiconductor? microchip technology? pic24?

Microchip's latest MCU

Striving to deliver optimum performance for the industry's existing 16bit MCU line, microcontroller (MCU) and analog semiconductor provider Microchip Technology Inc. rolls out 49 new 16bit devices comprised of the PIC24 16bit MCU family with 22 general-purpose MCUs, as well as 27 dsc for multichannel POL apps" target=_blank>digital signal controllers (DSCs) under the dsPIC33 DSC family. The new devices extends the Microchip's 16bit portfolio to 70 devices, which includes the 21 current DSCs in the dsPIC30 product line, aiming to fulfill embedded system designers' need for augmented performance, memory and peripherals.

This new line of MCUs and DSCs answers the need of embedded systems designers in accomplishing projects on time while achieving cost targets and attaining significant product differentiation with up to 40MIPS performance, which the company claims as the industry's highest for 16bit MCUs. The PIC24 and dsPIC33F families are welcome developments for 8bit MCU users as these offer cost-effective increase in performance, memory and peripherals while maintaining embedded-control architectural efficiencies.

"Microchip's intention in going after the 16bit market is to serve small and large customers alike and to leverage all of the forces and strength that we brought to 8bit into the 16bit market including low-cost tools, worldwide customer support, and the quality that we have been delivering to 8bit," said Mitch Obolsky, VP of the Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division at Microchip.

Obolsky asserted that Microchip's strength in 8bit has something to do with their approach to the market. They serve more than 45,000 microcontroller customers by providing them low-cost tools, and very large families of devices that make it easy to migrate from one to another. He said that they in Microchip believe that their 8bit sales would very well reflect their 16bit sales. "Consumer is a large segment, and the automotive and office automation segments are probably the next largest segments," he said.

The PIC24 MCU family extends Microchip's 8bit PIC MCU performance, memory and peripherals. The 16bit family line allows an easy migration to dsPIC33 products for an enhanced 40MIPS performance and added DSP capability. This is complemented with a compatible set of software, development tools, device pin-outs and peripherals.

MCUs and DSCs in the 16bit product array of Microchip Technology intends to serve various consumer and industrial application segments such as motion detectors, home automation, remote meter reading, home security system, PLC controllers and access control. Electronically-assisted power steering, electronic clutch, airbag controllers are some of the product lines' applications for the automotive segment.

The PIC24 16bit MCU family includes nine devices called the PIC24F cost-effective general purpose MCUs which offers a 16MIPS performance at 32MHz, self-programming flash program memory with options for 128KB, 96KB and 64KB and an 8KB RAM. Other features include an internal oscillator, option for low power modes and JTAG boundary scan and flash memory programming. These are available in 100-, 80- and 64-pin TQFP packages. Thirteen high-performance PIC24H devices are also available which offers an up to 40MIPS performance, an added 256KB program memory and 16KB RAM options, as well as an eight-channel DMA.

The twenty-seven DSC general purpose and motor control devices that comprise dsPIC33F offers a 40MIPS MCU/DSP performance, self-programming flash memory program memory at 256KB, 128KB and 64KB options, as well as a variable 8KB to 30KB RAM. This family of devices also features an eight-channel DMA. Peripherals to theses devices include UART with LIN and IrDA interfaces, and up to two each of I?C, SPI and CAN ports. It also includes 12bit 500KSps A/D peripheral.

Engineers are expected to benefit on lowering tool investments and learning curves by utilizing Microchip's MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which is compatible on the wide range of 8bit and 16bit devices from Microchip Technology. The new 16bit families allows Microchip's seamless migration path from 8bit MCUs to the new PIC24 and dsPIC33 families in terms of nomenclature, pin and peripheral compatibility, enabling fast and efficient development cycles.

The PIC24 and dsPIC33F families are also supported by existing Microchip development tools such as the MPLAB C30 C compiler, emulator and debugger, and the MPLAB PM3 universal device programmer, in addition to being compatible with the MPLAB IDE. Microchip also rolled out the Explorer 16 development board to prop up all 16bit controllers.

"When you use a microcontroller, what you really want to see is definitive response time. 16bit and 8bit microcontrollers typically respond in less than five cycles, while the more complex 32bit responds in 27 cycles. It is also non-deterministic; you don't know how long it will take to respond. So for control, the 16bit microcontrollers is a far better answer than at least the current 32bit microcontrollers that are out in the market today," Obolsky said.

Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, comments that with dsPIC DSCs and PIC24 MCUs, Microchip is the only company with truly unified DSP and MCU product lines. "The dsPIC33 family gives MCU people an easy migration path to DSP performance," Strauss added.

Early-adopter samples for the 16bit product line are already available, with a general release of samples on Q1 next year. Production is slated on Q2 2006.

- Reden Mateo
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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