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Low cost event-driven MCUs rolled out by XMOS

Posted: 05 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:XMOS? multi-core microcontroller? DSP? xSoftIP library? ALU pipeline?

An event-driven microcontroller has been recently released by multi-threaded processor developer XMOS Ltd. The XS1-L4-64 comes at a price point of $2.95 for 100-unit quantities.

XMOS describes the chip as the lowest-cost multi-core microcontroller. The chip has a single physical ALU but support in terms registers and other circuitry for four time-sliced virtual processors. Time slicing is done to better match memory access to the ALU pipeline performance and the availability of these "virtual" processor cores is a key to the performance and responsiveness of the chips.

In the case of XS1-L4-64 it supports four "logical" processors with 64 MB of memory. The chip is supplied in a 48 pin package that is pin-compatible with the existing 6-core L6-64 and the 8-core L8-64 xCore devices which are based on the same silicon die.

"The xCore L4 offers 400-MIPS performance at the price point of other manufacturers' 40- or 50-MIPS products," said Ali Dixon, director of product marketing and co-founder of XMOS, in a statement.

The xCore family offers 64 bit precision DSP calculation making the new device suitable for stepper motor control, industrial networking and motion control. The event-driven deterministic nature of the xCore family is helping the company make design wins in robotics applications, the company said.

Like the rest of the xCore family, the L4 is supported with the free-to-download xTimeComposer development suite that includes compilers, debuggers, and unique timing analysis and instrumentation capabilities. The supporting xSoftIP library of soft peripherals and processing blocks allow customers to equip xCore devices with peripherals such as high speed USB, Ethernet, CAN and LIN, all via software.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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