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Enhanced Cortex-M3 achieves ultralow power

Posted: 25 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cortex-M3? processor? power management?

ARM announced at the Embedded Systems Conference, a significant upgrade to the Cortex-M3 processor. The latest release includes a new Wake-Up Interrupt (WIC) controller which allows almost instantaneous return to fully active mode from an Ultra-Low Leakage (ULL) retention state and introduces enhanced power management features that address the ongoing need in the embedded market for increased performance and longer battery life in next-generation designs.

The Cortex-M3 processor is now also supported by the ARM Power Management Kit (PMK) and is tightly integrated with, and optimized for, low-power physical IP standard cell libraries and memories from the ARM Artisan physical IP family. Additional enhancements include the ability to integrate solutions for safety-critical and fault-robust applications in industrial, medical and automotive applications.

Power-saving architecture
To enable ultralow-power standby operation, the processor has a new integrated Wake-Up Interrupt Controller that, when utilized with low-power cells such as the ARM Power Management Kit (PMK) and standard cell libraries and memories, enables the core and the interrupt controller to be rapidly placed in an ultra-low leakage retention mode, returning to fully active mode almost instantaneously on critical events. When combined with Partners' insight into power-efficient design techniques, the WIC will lead to a new wave of extremely power-efficient microcontroller solutions.

By combining the ARM PMK, memories and standard cell libraries with the Cortex-M3 processor, Partners can also gain significant time-to-market savings when targeting ultra-low leakage manufacturing processes for major power-saving benefits with very low area impact. The Physical IP memories feature byte-write capability and allow multiple power-down (with retention) modes when coupled to the PMK.

New features
In addition to the lower-power benefits, the Cortex-M3 processor can now boast a path to IEC61508 standard SIL3 certification, enabling its use in a variety of safety-critical applications in automotive, medical and military markets where Fault Robustness is essential.

Other new benefits of the latest release of the Cortex-M3 processor include significantly extended configurability of debug and trace capabilities to enable the creation of extremely cost-sensitive, high-volume 32bit devices, such as electronic toys and consumer electronics systems. The new device also offers improved operating frequency for highest performance embedded applications and enhanced signaling to power management controllers.

Enhanced support features for the Cortex-M3 processor will be available in Q2 08.

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