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Kit eases development of customizable ARM9-based MCUs

Posted: 20 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ARM9-based customizable MCUs? FIR filters? H.264?


Atmel Corp. has released its AT91CAP9A-DK development kit for the design and implementation of DSP algorithms, custom peripherals and additional processor cores on its ARM9-based customizable MCUs.

The AT91CAP9 customizable MCU has a metal programmable (MP) block with the equivalent of 28K or 56K FPGA LUTs, which can be used to implement any IP developed on an FPGA, including complex DSP algorithms, such as OFDM, GPS correlators, FFTs, FIR filters or H.264. Atmel customizes the MCUs directly from an FPGA netlist created on the development board, using conventional FPGA design tools.

The resulting customized MCUs deliver as much as 8X the performance, consume 99 percent less static power and cost about 30 percent less than the FPGA-plus-MCU implementation.

The AT91CAP9A-DK is comparable to conventional FPGA development kits with onboard MCUs. The key components of the kit are the AT91CAP9 customizable MCU with extensive peripherals for networked embedded applications with man-machine interfaces and an FPGA with 90 logic elements and a seamless interface to the AT91CAP MCU. The kit allows the simultaneous development and emulation of both the ARM9 software and FPGA Verilog/VHDL designs. Existing FPGA designs can be ported directly to the development board and new designs can be done using it.

Atmel uses the customer's RTL to synthesize the gate-level netlist for the MP block on the customizable MCU and verifies timing. The customer only needs to simulate their own IP in the CAP netlist, to verify functionality. Prototypes are available in less than twelve weeks after the final CAP gate-level netlist is completed.

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