2006-09-01   eeProductCenter Ultimate Products 3.2: Processors and Memory
  eeProductCenter [2006-09-01]
Flash-based Blackfin DSPs target automotive apps
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "With an eye on the needs of automotive market, Analog Devices has launched its ADSP-BF539 and ADSP-BF539F Blackfin digital signal processors. Both processors provide CAN and MOST bus connectivity; the BF539F is the first Blackfin processor to incorporate flash memory."

Readers say:
» "Flash memory is what was needed."
» "Nice product."
» "Would like to see more information about power."
» "Putting flash inside a DSP is a natural. I don't know if TI has done it already, but this is important. The Integrity RTOS is important to open other applications to this processor."
» "I would like to see comprehensive support in terms of providing free software development tools, schematics, diagram, so various hardware may be made with ease."
» "I like the supervisor-mode features mixed with a decent DSP."
» "Great features. There is a lot of potential for these devices."
» "Assembly language was very easy to understand."
» "Wish they came out earlier, just designed in coldfire processor for a significant application"
» "We use TI DSP products."
» "Personally I'm much more likely to use a FPGA than a Blackfin; this is due to low volume and flexibility requirements."
» "On-chip Flash mainly goes after the microcontroller market. It also gives AD a leg up on TI. However, my non-reliance on on-chip Flash means that TI remains my DSP vendor."
» "I prefer to spend a little extra time programming an FPGA for fully parallel operation on most of my stuff.
» "Great, about time!"
» "I do not have a current need for them, but it seems like these devices provide a lot of horse power one could throw at a variety of applications. It would be fun to use them in a solution."
Ultra-low-end, sub-50-cent 8-bit MCU fits in 6-pin pack
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Freescale Semiconductor has combined a new 8-bit microcontroller core, 1 Kbyte of flash, 63 bytes of RAM in a 6-pin package for price of 43 cents.

The new MC9RS08KA is the first product to use Freescale's new RS08 microcontroller core in an ultra-low-end, sub-50-cent 8-bit device that's small enough to fit in the head of an electric toothbrush."

Readers say:
» "A handy choice for user interface and simple control."
» "I really like the migration path."
» "Hey Freescale, nice package. Now we can put microcontrollers in EVERYTHING."
Samsung boosts high-capacity drive offerings with 400 Gbyte unit
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Samsung Electronics Ltd. has launched its largest format hard drives to date, the new 400GB SpinPoint T133 series, for the small businesses, enterprises and home user market. Samsung's latest high-capacity drives are ideal for users looking to store and play back limitless amounts of digital media, including movies and music, while offering fast and reliable data transmission.

"Today's businesses and home users demand the most from their technology products and Samsung is working to meet these increasingly complex requirements," comments Albert Kim, national sales manager, Storage Systems for Samsung Semiconductor. "Utilizing 133GB per platter technology, the new HD400LJ and HD400LD open up a new arena for Samsung's storage products from the enterprise to external storage to network attached storage applications.""

Readers say:
» "Speed."
» "Nice!"
» "Own one!"
» "Great drive!"
» "Would like to see a TByte drive with street price ~$300."
» "High speed dual DSP ia a plus."
» "Actual specs list data transfer as 800Mbps MAX, NOT 3GB."
» "$195.00! It was only 11 years ago that I paid $245.00 for a 1 GB drive Samsung drive."
» "Great for videos."
ARM9-based MCU line touts upgrade path from ARM7 devices
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Targeting system designers that have outgrown the ARM7 type processors, Atmel Corp. has launched its SAM9 family of 32-bit microcontrollers based on the ARM926EJ-S core. The AT91SAM9260 is the first member of the new family that shares the same integration levels and programming models as Atmel's ARM7-based MCUs, allowing direct migration between controllers based on different ARM cores."

Readers say:
» "10/100 MAC is the important item."
» "An interesting approach to the portability problem, but I wonder what the reality of it is. You know the saying, "if it sounds too good to be true...."
» "With built-in Ethernet module, this one is a best match for our network application."
» "Versitile core, sounds like a good configuration."
» "Excellent product. Now, if Atmel could just keep their internal drama out of the public's eye, we might be able to convince our clients to start designs with these."
(5) ASIX
8-bit MCUs pack Ethernet MAC/PHY, flash on single chip
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "ASIX Electronics Corp.'s AX110xx family of 8-bit microcontrollers embed 10/100Mbps fast Ethernet MAC/PHY, the TCP/IP accelerator, and flash memory on a single chip.

The AX11001/AX11005 and AX11015 MCUs tout a single-cycle pipelined 8051/80390 core (up to 100MIPS), 128 to 512 KBytes flash memory, and 32KBytes RAM. The embedded Ethernet PHY supports Auto-MDIX, which allows either the straight-through or crossover cables to be directly connected to the device easily. The AX110xx family supports serial communication interfaces such as I²C, SPI bus, three UART (with one supporting 921.6Kbps), and 1-wire. The parallel interfaces supported include external memory interface, local bus, and Ethernet MII. "

Readers say:
» "A bigger built-in FLASH and stronger built-in IP stack will make this one a perferct low-cost solution for embedded network device."
» "Convenient, with the possibility of interesting applications."
» "There are a lot of features in these devices, but do they have the processing power to support all of the features, or do you have to trade off features?"
» "Good integration of some needed features at a low price."
» "Very cost effective device."
8051-based MCU touts integrated nonvolatile ferroelectric RAM
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Ramtron International Corp. is offering what it believes is the industry's first 8051-based microcontroller with integrated nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM). The new VRS51L3074 is the first in a series of planned products leading to a microcontroller based entirely on FRAM, where FRAM will be used for program, data and register memory, eliminating the need for Flash and SRAM altogether, said Irv Lustigman, General Manager of Ramtron Canada. "

Readers say:
» "It has the specs, now it just needs to have the price ...."
» "Number of UARTS is missing. How many are there? What is "fast" write time for the FRAM?"
» "Although it is nice to have simple way as welll as unlimited times to access the FRAM, cost may be an issue.
» "Need more memory."
» "Watching this technology."
» "I like the characteristics of FRAM, especially not having to erase an entire sector before rewriting a location."
Audio DSP aims for home theater, automotive apps
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Texas Instruments 8-channel TAS3108 audio DSP offers high-performance audio processing capabilities that enable up to 7.1-channel processing in digital TVs, home theater-in-a-box systems, and automotive head units and external amplifiers.

The TAS3108 audio DSP can perform five simultaneous instructions per clock cycle and operates at 135MHz, providing a maximum of 675 MIPS. When combined with its 48-bit data path, and single-cycle 76-bit (48x28) multiply-accumulate, the TAS3108 DSP boasts 135 million multiple accumulates per second (135MMACS) performance. "

Readers say:
» "Way to go TI!"
RoHS-compliant nvSRAMs deliver non-volatile memory with no battery
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Cypress Semiconductor Corp.'s family of non-volatile SRAMs (nvSRAMs) internally store data when power is lost, with no battery required. The RoHS-compliant nvSRAMs use a charge stored on an external capacitor instead of a battery, allowing the devices to be manufactured on a standard PCB assembly process for low cost.

Operating with access times as fast as 25 ns, the nvSRAMS are available in 1 Mbit/3V, 256 Kbit/3V, 256 Kbit/5V, 64 Kbit/5V and 16 Kbit/5V configurations. The devices are highly scalable, with all of the configurations available in small 32-pin SOIC packages and the 1-Mbit and 256-Kbit devices also available in 48-pin SSOP packages. The devices offer data retention for a minimum of 20 years, according to Cypress."

Readers say:
» "Important also for database commits before write to disk, though cost and size are likely to be a problem."
» "Very interesting indeed."
Micron touts Managed NAND flash pack for mobile handsets
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "The newest offering in Micron Technology's embedded product line is its Managed NAND flash unit for feature-rich mobile handsets and other portable devices. Combining the company's NAND flash memory with a high-speed multimedia card (MMC) controller in a package is said to streamline a manufacturer's mobile design process and simplify NAND flash procurement logistics.

MMC is a high-speed, industry standard interface which provides OEMs with a technology independent, vendor independent mass storage solution. The system processor accesses the managed NAND device using a high-level, block abstracted protocol. The flash controller embedded within the low-profile ball grid array (BGA) package handles error correction code (ECC), block erase and defect management functions."

Readers say:
» "Too expensive!"
32-bit MCU family simplifies automotive audio
eeProductCenter's Marty Gold says: "Renesas Technology America's newest 32-bit microcontrollers have been designed to simplify and reduce the cost of car audio, home audio, and similar digital audio Systems. Offering About 70 percent higher speed than previous Renesas SuperH-based MCUs, the five SH7263 devices have a 200MHz, 32-bit SH-2A CPU core with a built-in floating point unit and include a USB2.0 host interface for portable-audio-player connectivity and an LCD controller for WVGA-size color screens. They also integrate a CD-ROM decoder and additional audio peripherals."

Readers say:
» "Audio definitely is in a renaissance."
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