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Posted: March 1, 2010
STMicroelectronics Delivers 90nm STM32 MCU with Unique Flash Accelerator for Extra Performance Boost
(Nanowerk News) STMicroelectronics, a world leader in microcontrollers, has announced two significant advances that further improve the performance and power consumption of its successful STM32 family: availability of production devices featuring embedded Flash at 90nm process technology; and the industry's first Adaptive Real-Time (ART) memory accelerator optimized for the STM32's industry-standard ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor.
The first production STM32 microcontrollers leveraging ST's 90nm embedded Flash technology, which is already proven in smart card and automotive ICs, deliver faster operation, increased peripheral integration, lower power consumption, and increased on-chip memory densities. ST announced it was sampling these devices in 2009.
The proprietary ART memory accelerator balances the inherent performance advantage of the ARM Cortex-M3 over Flash memory technologies, which normally requires the processor to wait for the Flash at higher operating frequencies. The CPU can now operate up to 120MHz without waiting, thereby increasing overall system speed and efficiency.
To release the processor's full 150 DMIPS performance at this frequency the accelerator implements an instruction pre-fetch queue and branch cache, enabling program execution from Flash at up to 120MHz with zero wait states. Competing Cortex-M3 MCUs can now only outperform the STM32 by operating at frequencies above 120MHz, which will increase power consumption and heat dissipation.
With this performance now available, developers can host extra elements of a system on the microcontroller, saving the need to use a more expensive microcontroller or a companion DSP. An example is in multimedia applications, where customers will be able to implement an audio codec, video processing functions, data encryption, digital filtering, and a multi-protocol gateway, with sufficient remaining resources to manage other tasks.
The latest STM32 variants benefiting from the 90nm process and the ART memory accelerator have been verified according to CoreMark™ tests created by the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium. CoreMark results verify the STM32 executes 8% faster than Cortex-M competitors at 100MHz clock speed. The performance advantage is greater still at 120MHz. CoreMark analysis also confirms dynamic power consumption of only 188mA/MHz (98mA/CoreMark). This is equivalent to drawing 22.5mA at 120MHz (executing from Flash memory, with ART accelerator enabled and all peripherals off).
The new 90nm devices featuring the ART memory accelerator are sampling at lead customers. Product details will be announced later this year.
About the STM32 family
The enhancements announced today extend the advantages of the industry's most extensive Cortex-M3 microcontroller portfolio, which now includes over 110 devices. All STM32 family members are pin-to-pin and software compatible, and share from a common pool of peripherals to facilitate design scalability and efficient, platform-based product development.
Available STM32 product lines now include the STM32 Value Line, STM32 Access Line, and STM32 Performance Line. Additional enhancements include the STM32 Access USB Line featuring additional connectivity and the STM32 Connectivity Line supporting USB OTG, Ethernet and dual CAN interfaces. On-chip Flash densities range from 16Kbytes to 1Mbyte, SRAM densities from 4KBytes to 96KBytes, and surface-mount package styles from 36-pin QFN to 144-pin LQFP or BGA packages. High-performance on-chip peripherals span interface, conversion, timing, and supervisory features including watchdog and reset functions.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with innovative semiconductor solutions. ST aims to be the undisputed leader in multimedia convergence and power applications leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships and manufacturing strength. In 2009, the Company's net revenues were $8.51 billion.