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Freescale intros 12 ColdFire microprocessors for Linux

Posted: 26 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor? embedded systems? Linux OS?


Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a ColdFire microprocessor family designed to enable low-power, high-performance embedded systems running the Linux OS. Delivering 410 Dhrystone MIPS core performance at 380mW, the ColdFire microprocessors are designed to be easy on the developer's system power budget, while enabling exceptional system-level performance.

Freescale's MCF5445x family includes 12 advanced microprocessors that integrate a rich set of connectivity peripherals. The MCF5445x devices include an on-chip memory management unit to support protected memory operating systems, such as the Linux OS. The MCF5445x family supports 10/100 Ethernet, USB On-The-Go, advanced technology attachment (ATA) and PCI, enabling easy integration of any PCI-based peripheral.

"Freescale has expanded its ColdFire MCU portfolio by an impressive 25 percent with the launch of these 12 microprocessors, combined with the addition of 10 ColdFire MCUs for entry-level applications," said Tony Massimini, chief of technology at Semico Research Corp. "The MCF5445x devices' high level of performance at less than 400mW is impressive makes them compelling solutions for power-sensitive applications that require flexible connectivity options."

The range of price, peripheral, power and performance options makes the MCF5445x family a well-suited solution for consumer applications such as network-attached storage and Ethernet gateways. The processor family also fits well in a broad array of embedded control applications including industrial control, embedded VoIP, factory automation, POS terminals, test and measurement equipment, and health care equipment.

High-performance solutions
The MCF5445x microprocessors are based on the high-performance V4 ColdFire microarchitecture featuring an enhanced multiply-accumulate (eMAC) unit, hardware divide and a memory management unit (MMU). The MMU allows embedded designers to run protected-mode operating systems, such as Linux OS as well as other third-party real-time OS systems.

The MCF5445x family devices feature an on-chip DDR memory controller that supports DDR1, DDR2 and mobile DDR memory. Affordable DDR1/2 memory support combined with a cost-effective, non-volatile memory serial interface enables a serial boot capability designed to minimize system cost while maintaining exceptional system performance. The inclusion of a dual-role master/slave SPI allows other SPI devices to communicate with the MCF5445x as a master or slave, giving developers greater control in integrating other low-cost peripherals.

Development tools
The MCF5445x family is supported by an array of hardware and software development tools, including full-featured evaluation kits, complimentary Linux board support packages and third-party software tools.

Complimentary Linux solutions for MCF5445x devices, powered by CodeSourcery's GNU C Compiler (GCC) toolchain, enable fast time to market supported by a royalty-free, open-source software solution. The development kit includes an evaluation board with preinstalled Linux OS and demonstration applications, as well as a DVD with Linux OS and full development system for out-of-the-box productivity.

The MCF5445x evaluation kit also includes a complimentary Preview Release of Freescale's CodeWarrior Development Studio for ColdFire Architectures v7 to help developers get their applications up and running quickly.

The MCF5445x family devices are available from $9.95 in 10,000-unit quantities. Samples are available now. The M54455EVB evaluation system is available now at $850.

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