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MCU core targets digital signal controls

Posted: 24 Feb 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? MCU core? digital signal control? processor?

ARM Holdings plc has launched the Cortex-M4 microcontroller core for use in digital signal control and that the core has been licensed by five companies including NXP, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. The Cortex-M4 processor extends the use of Cortex-M cores to applications requiring intensive mathematical computation.

The M4 has been designed for use in motor control, automotive, power management, embedded audio, and industrial automation markets.

The Cortex-M4 features a single-cycle multiply-accumulate (MAC) unit, optimized single instruction multiple data (SIMD) instructions, saturating arithmetic instructions and an optional single precision Floating-Point Unit (FPU). The 32bit processor core is capable of 1.25-DMIPS/MHz for Thumb-2 instructions.

The Cortex-M4 processor is supported by the ARM physical IP portfolio, which includes the Cortex-M low-power optimization package for the TSMC CE018FG process, which is otherwise known as 180nm ULL (ultra low leakage).

For a target clock frequency of 150MHz ARM physical IP for the GlobalFoundries' 65LPe 65nm process enables a standard implementation of the Cortex-M4 processor within 65,000 gates and a dynamic power consumption of less than 40?W/MHz. The FPU, if included, adds only 25,000 gates said ARM.

ARM can provide development tools and training courses for the Cortex-M4 which is also supported by the Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS). ARM is currently expanding the CMSIS to include C Compiler support for Cortex-M4 processor extended instructions and is developing a library designed to make signal processing programs easier to develop for MCU users.

This library will include digital filter algorithms and general functions such as math, trigonometric, and control functions. The digital filter algorithms are also intended for use with filter design utilities and design toolkits such as MATLAB and LabVIEW.

"The Cortex-M4 processor now enables a new class of microcontrollers to meet the high-performance, low-cost needs of the signal processing markets," said Geoff Lees, general manager of the microcontroller product line at NXP, in a statement issued by ARM.

"A product line based on the Cortex-M4 processor will complement our line of STM32 microcontrollers, giving our customers the ability to combine the scalability of STM32 with enhanced signal processing capability," said Semir Haddad, 32bit MCU marketing manager for ST, in the same statement.

"The Cortex-M4 processor makes PID loops and upper level motion control work better and more reliably, enhancing a developer's ability to achieve high levels of energy conservation through efficient motor control," said Jean Anne Booth, director of worldwide Stellaris MCU marketing at Texas Instruments.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe





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