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MCU with floating point unit delivers higher precision

Posted: 05 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:floating point unit? microcontroller? MCU? DSP?


Atmel Corp. is offering its 32bit AVR UC3 product family designed with a floating point unit. This new technology will enable designers to replace a two chip microcontroller and DSP solution with just one Atmel MCU for applications in the automotive and industrial control markets.

A feature of Atmel's 32bit AVR UC3 microcontrollers is the architecture's very high digital signal processing performance. Offering fixed point and integer arithmetic support which are usually found only in high end DSPs, the UC3 MCUs outperform most microcontrollers. The addition of a single precision floating point unit will allow customers to replace their current solution with just one Atmel chip.

A floating point unit improves processing performance by allowing the MCU to perform arithmetic calculations on decimal numbers in fewer clock cycles with higher precision. This will benefit a wide range of applications; motor control algorithms can be improved to allow the motor to run more silently or consuming less energy, sensor data can be filtered or analyzed to suppress noise and capture more useful information, and audio data can be processed without loss of fidelity. The 32bit AVR UC3 floating point unit is compliant with the widely accepted IEEE 754 standard. This ensures compatibility with a wide range of existing math libraries and application code.

"The addition of a floating point unit to Atmel's 32bit AVR microcontrollers further demonstrates our commitment to push the boundaries of microcontroller performance," said Oyvind Strom, product marketing director for Atmel's AVR microcontroller products. "With the increased performance, we expand the market for microcontrollers by addressing the needs of customers who now include a separate DSP on their PCB."

The floating point unit will be introduced in selected AVR UC3 family members targeting the automotive and industrial control. The first devices are being prototyped by industry leaders today, and will be made available for general sampling in the second half of 2010. The first devices to arrive will include advanced analog modules, such as dual high-speed 12bit ADCs, dual high-speed 12bit DACs and intelligent motor control. The new devices will also include features such as peripheral intelligence, memory-to-memory DMA controller and peripheral event system introduced to the UC3 MCUs in 2009.

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