Monday, November 16, 2009

32bit microcontrollers fall to 65cents

The latest family of 32bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontrollers from NXP is driving real time oerating systems straight into the 8bit and 16bit space. The LPC1100 microcontroller family will be available from distributors in December from 65cents in 10K volumes. With 15 members initially, the family offers a seamless entry point for any 8/16-bit customers looking to start with the scalable ARM architecture throughout their entire range of product development.
This provides an excellent opportunity for RTOS vendors such as
with the FreeRTOS and SafeRTOS. This is also a direct challeng to Texas Instruments with the new Coretex M0 family from recently acquired Luminary Micro.
“Existing 8-bit 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, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors. “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.”

With over 45 DMIPS of performance compared to the sub-DMIP performance typical of 8bit MCUs and 3 - 5 DMIPS for 16-bit MCUs, the LPC1100 can not only execute basic control tasks but also sophisticated algorithms, making even the most complex tasks within reach. Shorter time to do more tasks translates directly into lower energy consumption. This level of performance is delivered at 50 MHz, with extensive power optimization, at less than 10 mA. The industry standard Coremark benchmarks also show that the LPC1100 requires 40-50 percent smaller code for most common microcontroller tasks.
“It may be a big surprise to embedded users how much the LPC1100, a 32-bit microcontroller, outperforms in efficiency compared to 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers. If performance and energy consumption are important criteria for selecting a microcontroller, based on the results generated from EEMBC's CoreMark benchmark, embedded designers should check out the LPC1100 (especially with its $0.65 price tag) before committing to any 8- or 16-bit options with comparable features and pricing. The scores for the LPC1100 are already posted on,” said Markus Levy, EEMBC President.

Features of the NXP LPC1100 family of microcontrollers include:
· 50 MHz Cortex-M0 processor with SWD/debug (4 break-points)
· 32 Vectored Interrupts; 4 priority levels; Dedicated Interrupts on up to 13 GPIOs
· UART, 1 or 2 SPI, I2C (FM+); 2 16-bit and 2 32-bit timers with PWM/Match/Capture
· 12MHz Internal RC Oscillator with 1% accuracy over temperature and voltage
· Power-On-Reset (POR); Multi-level Brown-Out-Detect (BOD); 10-50 MHz Phase-Locked Loop (PLL)
· 8-channel high precision 10-bit ADC with ±1LSB DNL
· Up to 28 or 42 fast 5V tolerant GPIO pins for HVQFN33 and LQFP48 respectively, high drive (20 mA) on select pins
· Single 1.8 – 3.6V power supply; over 5kV ESD for rugged applications

Future product features will include: Ultra Low Power options, CAN, 12-bit 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.
Recommended distribution unit pricing in 10,000 piece quantities for the 33-pin package is: LPC1111FHN33/101 at US$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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