ARM micros rival Freescale’s ColdFire


ARM micros rival Freescale’s ColdFire

R. Colin Johnson

9/27/2010 9:22 PM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore. —Industrial designers can now choose from either ARM-based or ColdFire-based microcontrollers for mobile cost-sensitive portable medical devices, smart meters, energy distribution equipment, motor control and other industrial applications. Freescale Semiconductor’s two new families of ARM- and ColdFire-based microcontrollers bring the price of battery-saving half-watt power consumption down to around a $5.
The biggest difference between the two new processors is the fact that the i.MX28x is based on an ARM9 core (500 MIPS at 454-MHz) instead of Freescale’s own ColdFire V4m core (385 MIPS at 250-MHz). Also the ColdFire MCF5441x has its own industrial/motor support circuitry while the i.MX28x, which is used in Freescale’s recently announced Home Energy Gateway reference platform, has its own display/touchscreen support circuitry.
The new processor families include on-chip UARTs, controller area network (CAN) controllers, USB controllers plus introduce an embedded three-port Layer-2 switch capability that allows Ethernet connected devices to be daisy-chained with no additional components. Dual 10/100 Ethernet ports perform IEEE 1588 timestamping for clock synchronization.

The ColdFire MCF5441x houses a 250-MHz V4m Core offering 385 MIPS, and up to 10 serial ports, precision pulse width modulators and analog to digital converters (ADCs).

Both the i.MX28x and the MCF5441x families are a part of Freescale’s Product Longevity program which guarantees original-equipment-manufacturers (OEMs) that Freescale will continue to supply parts for 15 years of assured supply.

The i.MX28x chip houses a 454-MHz ARM9 core offering 500 MIPS, and LCD controller, touchscreen user interface, power management unit, two USB modules and analog to digital converters (ADC). Source: Freescale.