Will latest Cortex-M4 chip come from TI?
Richard Wilson Thursday 03 February 2011 16:20
Texas Instruments is understood to be planning the launch of its first microcontroller based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor core.
First details of the new microcontroller family are expected to be announced next month.
To date Freescale and NXP are the only suppliers to announce microcontrollers based on the Cortex-M4 processor core, which is ARM’s next genertaion core after the popular Cortex-M3.
STMicroelectronics has plans for an M4 chip, but has yet to confirm product details.
ARM announced the M4 core a year ago.
A feature of this 32-bit core is its built-in integer DSP, and an optional floating point unit.
As a result it is effectively a digital signal controller aimed at applications in audio, motor control, industrial automation and automotive.
Its instruction set is a superset of the Cortex-M3’s.
When not executing DSP or floating point instructions, the M4 has a similar performance to the M3.
Differences start to show once the DSP instructions are invoked.
Power consumption is predicted to be less than 40µW/MHz, with MP3 decode consuming 0.5mW.
Freescale Semiconductor’s Kinetis family of controllers is based on ARM’s Cortex M4 processor core.
“The M4 has been a significant change for our group as we have always designed our own cores, but from requests from our customers we have decided to introduce this ARM family,” said Jim Stuart, European marketing manager for industrial and multi-market MCUs.
M4 is a higher performance version of the Cortex M3.
In November, NXP Semiconductors introduced a dual-core microcontroller which is its first asymmetrical dual-core device integrating ARM Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M0 processors.
It is essentially a programmable DSP device with the Cortex-M4 providing the DSP horse power and the Cortex-M0 providing house-keeping and peripheral control .