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Benchmark calculates energy efficiency

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:benchmark? ULPBench? test? energy?

The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EMBC) named the first in its line-up of test tools measuring the efficiency of ultra-low-power microcontrollers. The ULPBench-CP (core profile) under the ULPBench series is aimed at MCUs consuming 28mA or less in active mode.

The benchmark applies to smart meters and IoT devices that require running on a button-cell battery for years in medical applications. It calculates CPU core efficiency for 8bit, 16bit, and 32bit microcontrollers, in addition to their power modes and real-time clock and calendar (RTCC). Versions testing the energy efficiency of peripherals and other hardware in specific applications will be available in the future.

The ULPBench-CP exercises an MCU's memory, math, sorting, and general-purpose I/O functions. It uses the RTCC to establish the chip's duty cycle to determine when to perform functions and when to enter a low-power mode. It determines the median of five times the average energy per second for 10 ULPBench cycles. The final ULPMark is expressed as 1,000 divided by that median.

The benchmark's EnergyMonitor tool can test MCUs with or without ULPBench. This tool connects a microcontroller board via USB to a PC, where the results are displayed.

Analog Devices, ARM, Atmel, Cypress, Freescale, Microchip, Renesas, Silicon Labs, Spansion, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments contributed to the definition of the benchmark. The group started work in June. Other companies are welcome to join the effort to define subsequent versions.

EEMBC President Markus Levy said that ULPBench will be in limited availability for $100 starting March 10.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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