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Low-cost 32bit MCUs cut code size for 8-/16bit apps

Posted: 18 Nov 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? processor? MCU? microprocessor?


NXP unveiled its ARM Cortex-M0 based low-cost 32bit microcontroller family. The LPC1100 family brings higher value and ease of use compared to existing 8-/16bit MCUs. The low-power devices perform better and enable reductions in code size for all 8-/16bit applications. Starting out with 15 members, the LPC1100 family offers a seamless entry point for any 8-/16bit customers looking to start with the scalable ARM architecture throughout their entire range of product development.

"Existing 8bit architectures have their origins in the early era of the semiconductor industry, resulting in limitations of address range, register restrictions, limited functionality, unsuitability for high-level languages, and little attention to power and scaling issues," said Geoff Lees, VP and general manager, MCU product line, NXP. "The Cortex-M0 processor core and system architecture take full advantage of today�s optimized low-power design tools, techniques, and the latest low-power, high-density silicon flash process."

Offering over 45 DMIPS of performance compared to the sub-DMIP performance typical of 8bit MCUs and 3-5 DMIPS for 16bit MCUs, the LPC1100 can execute basic control and sophisticated algorithms, making even the most complex tasks within reach. Less time to do more tasks translates directly into lower energy consumption. This level of performance is delivered at 50MHz, with extensive power optimization, at less than 10mA.

Shattering the myth that 8-/16bit MCUs use less code, industry standard Coremark benchmarks illustrate that the LPC1100 requires 40-50 percent smaller code for most common MCU tasks.

"It may be a big surprise to embedded users how much the LPC1100, a 32bit MCU, outperforms in efficiency compared to 8- and 16bit MCUs. If performance and energy consumption are important criteria for selecting an MCU, based on the results generated by the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmarking Consortium (EEMBC), designers should check out the LPC1100 before committing to any 8- or 16bit options with comparable features and pricing. The scores for the LPC1100 are already posted on," said Markus Levy, EEMBC president.

The LPC1100 features 50MHz Cortex-M0 processor with SWD/debug (4 break-points); 32 vectored interrupts; 4 priority levels; and dedicated interrupts on up to 13 GPIOs. The MCU family also integrates UART, 1 or 2 SPI, I?C (FM+); two 16bit and two 32bit timers with PWM/match/capture. The microcontroller also packs a 12MHz Internal RC oscillator with 1 percent accuracy over temperature and voltage. In addition, the device offers Power-On-Reset, Multi-level Brown-Out-Detect and 10-50MHz PLL.

The MCU also includes an eight-channel high precision 10bit ADC with 1LSB DNL and up to 28 or 42 fast 5V tolerant GPIO pins for HVQFN33 and LQFP48 respectively, and high drive (20mA) on select pins. The family offers single 1.8V-3.6V power supply and over 5kV ESD for rugged applications.

Future product features will include: ultralow-power options, CAN, 12bit ADC and DAC, temperature sensor, high resolution timer features and advanced sensor interface.

The LPC1100 family is supported by development tools from IAR, Keil, Hitex, Code Red, and many others. NXP will also offer an easy to use, comprehensive development tool platform for under US$30.

The NXP LPC1100 family will be available in December. Recommended distribution unit pricing in 10,000-piece quantities for the 33-pin package is: LPC1111FHN33/101 at $0.65, LPC1112FHN33/101 at $0.75, LPC1113FHN33/201 at $0.85, and LPC1114FHN33/201 at $0.95, with flash sizes of 8K, 16K, 24K and 32K respectively. In addition, 48-pin LPQFP and PLCC44 packages will be available for socketed applications.

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