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Posts Tagged ‘arm’

NXP Unveils LPC84x ARM Cortex M0+ MCU Family, and LPCXpresso845-MAX Evaluation Board

June 23rd, 2017 No comments

NXP Semiconductors has expanded LPC800 series MCUs with the new LPC84x family of 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller said to offer 10 times the performance, three times more power saving savings, and 50 percent smaller code-size than 8- or 16-bit microcontrollers.

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Key features of LPC84x MCU family (LPC844 / LPC845):

  • MCU Core – ARM Cortex-M0+ core @ 30 MHz with advanced power optimization
  • RAM – 16 kB RAM (Logic for Bit banding across all of SRAM)
  • Storage – 64 kB Flash, small 64-byte page size suitable for EEPROM emulation
  • Peripherals
    • Timers – 32-bit CTimer, WWDT, 4-channel multi-rate, SCTimer/PWM
    • Serial Interfaces – Up to 4x I2C, 2x SPI, up to 5x UART
    • Analog Interfaces – 12 ch, 12-bit ADC up to 1.2 Msps; 2x 10-bit DAC; comparator with external Vreg; 9-channel capacitive touch interface working in sleep and deep sleep modes
    • Up to 54 GPIOs
    • 25-ch DMA offloads core
  • Power Control
    • Five power modes
    • Power profile APIs for simple runtime power optimization
    • Fast Access Initialization Memory (FAIM) for low power boot @ 1.5 MHz
  • Clock Generation Unit with Free Running Oscillator
  • Packages – LQFP64, LQFP48, HVQFN48 and HVQFN33

The LPC84x MCUs target applications typically making use of 8- or 16-bit MCUs such as sensor gateways, gaming controllers, motor control, fire & security, climate control, lighting, etc.. The company has already provided code samples that can be used in MCUXpresso, Keil, and IAR IDEs, as well as a datasheet, and a user guide for the microcontrollers on the product page.

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NXP also unveiled LPCXPresso845-MAX development board (OM13097) to help quickly evaluating the new MCUs. The board comes with the following key features:

  • LPC845 MCU
  • On-board CMSIS-DAP (debug probe) with VCOM port, based on LPC11U35 MCU
  • Debug connector to allow debug of target MCU using an external probe
  • Red, green and blue user LEDs;  Target ISP and user/wake buttons; Target reset button
  • LPCXpresso expansion connector
  • DAC output via speaker driver and speaker
  • Arduino connectors compatible with the “Arduino UNO” platform
  • Pmod compatible expansion header
  • Prototyping area

NXP did not disclose pricing for LPC84x MCUs, but it should be priced competitively against 8-bit micro-controllers. LPCXpresso845-MAX development board (OM13097) can be purchased for $19 directly on NXP website.

$89 MiniZed Development Board based on Xilinx Zynq Z-7007S SoC Includes WiFi, Bluetooth, Arduino Headers

June 14th, 2017 6 comments

Avnet has unveiled MiniZed development board – part of ZedBoard family – powered by a Xilinx Zynq Z-7007s SoC with an ARM Cortex A9 processor and FPGA fabric,  supporting WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and equipped with Arduino and PMOD headers.

MiniZed board (AES-MINIZED-7Z007-G) specifications:

  • SoC – Xilinx Zynq-7007S single ARM Cortex A9 processor up to 677 MHz + FPGA with 23K logic cells, 1.8 Mb block RAM, 60 DSP slices
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L
  • Storage –  8 GB eMMC flash, 128 Mbit QSPI flash
  • Connectivity –  Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 plus EDR and BLE  via Murata “Type 1DX” wireless module
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerator and temperature sensor (LIS2DS12);  Digital Microphone (MP34DT05)
  • Expansion Interfaces:
    • 2x Pmod compatible connectors with 16x GPIOs
    • Arduino UNO R3 compatible header with 22x GPIOs
  • Debugging –  JTAG and serial console via micro USB port
  • Misc – 2x bi-element user LEDs, user & reset push buttons; user switch
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

The company provides bare-metal code samples, as well as Xilinux PetaLinux for the board. You’ll find hardware and software documentation, including BoM, schematics, and getting started guides on the documentation page.

 

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MiniZed is the cheapest Zedboard so far, which makes it ideal as a training, prototyping and proof-of-concept demo platform, and it can be used to showcase wireless designs using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, audio signal processing examples with the MIC input, as well as IoT & cloud demos using external and on-board sensors.

MiniZed can be purchased for $89 on Avnet with the company mentioning that the retail price may be higher in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. You may find further info on Zedboard.org’s MiniZed page.

Samsung S-Patch3 Wearable Health Tracker Based on Samsung Bio-Processor Hits the FCC

June 9th, 2017 No comments

At the end of 2015, Samsung unveiled their S3FBP5A Bio-Processor comprised of an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, a DSP, and sensors for PPG, ECG (electrocardiography), Skin temperature, BIA, and GSR to have a single package to design tracker able to monitor your health condition. The company demonstrated an early prototype called S-Patch at CES 2016 (See embedded video at the end of this post), and now S-Patch3 wearable health monitoring system has just hit the FCC.

The system has two round shapes case connected via a cable, with one for the battery compartment, and the other containing the Bio Processors, and meant to be placed on your chest. The device can then synchronize the data with your smartphone in real-time over Bluetooth. People with heart conditions may benefit from the system, as if they wish to do so, they could share the data with their doctor. Few documents are publicly available on the FCC website, and while we don’t know the expect launch date of the device itself, the user’s manual and photos will be released on December 3rd, 2017 on the FCC website, which should roughly correspond to the launch date, or at least the official announcement date from Samsung.

Via Sammobile

Windows 10 ARM Mobile PCs Demonstrated with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC at Computex 2017

June 1st, 2017 13 comments

Windows on ARM has been tried before with Windows RT, but the systems were crippled, and it was not exactly a success. Microsoft and Qualcomm are now giving it another try with ARM mobile computers running the full version Windows 10 on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and Asus, HP, and Lenovo building devices based on the solution.

There are plenty of inexpensive Intel PCs running Windows 10, so what would be the benefits of using Snapdragon 835 SoC? Qualcomm explains that it’s the first to coming integrate Gigabit LTE, it offers up to 50% longer battery life in specific use cases like watching videos and gaming, and thanks to big.LITTLE technology provides up to 4 to 5 times improvement in battery life compared to Intel’s solutions.

Windows 10 does not have the same limitations as Windows RT had, and you can do pretty everything that you would on an Intel PC, including installing and running 32-bit x86 application thanks to an emulation layer that convert x86 instructions to ARM ones.

Qualcomm Mobile PC Board vs Intel Mobile PC Board

Mobile Geeks filmed a demo in Qualcomm booth, showing Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Outlook, installing a 32-bit x86 application, multi-tab web browsing over an LTE connection, and playing some YouTube video, including a 4K video. As a side note, the demo guy told the “legal department told him to only show Qualcomm content”, probably because of inane copyrights laws. That’s really ridiculous that those laws apply to showing a 10s clip for an hardware demo. But I digress, and it was stressed again that it was the first time big.LITTLE was supported in Windows 10, and allowed for much better efficiency.

Via Liliputing

ARM Cortex-A75 & Cortex-A55 Cores, and Mali-G72 GPU Details Revealed

May 27th, 2017 23 comments

We’ve already seen ARM Cortex A75 cores were coming thanks to leak showing Snapdragon 845 SoC will feature custom Cortex A75 cores, but we did not have many details. But since we live in a world where “to leak is glorious”, we already have some slides originally leaked through VideoCardz with the post now deleted, but Liliputing & TheAndroidSoul got some of the slides before deletion, so let’s see what we’ve got here.

ARM Cortex A75

So ARM Cortex-A75 will be  about 20% faster than Cortex A73 for single thread operation, itself already 30% faster than Cortex A72. It will also be the first DynamIQ capable processor together with Cortex A55 with both cores potentially used in big.LITTLE configuration.

Cortex A75 performance is only better for peak performance, and remain the same as Cortex-A73 for sustained performance.

The chart above does not start at zero, so it appear as though there are massive performance increases, but looks at the number and we can see 1.34x higher score with GeekBench, and 1.48x with Octane 2.0. Other benchmarks also have higher scores but between 1.16 and 1.33 times higher.

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Cortex A75 cores will be manufactured using 10nm process technology, and clocked at up to 3.0 GHz. While (peak) performance will be higher than Cortex A73, efficiency will remain the same.

ARM Cortex A55

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ARM Cortex A55 is the successor if Cortex-A53 with about twice the performance, and support for up to eight cores in a single cluster. There are octa-core (and even 24-core) ARM Cortex A53 processor but they also use multiple 4-core clusters.

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Power efficiency is 15% better too, and ARM claims it is 10x more configurable probably because of DynamIQ & 8-core cluster support.

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If we have a closer look at the benchmarks released by the company, we can see the 2x performance increase is only valid with LMBench memcpy memory benchmark, with other benchmarks from GeekBench v4 to SPECINT2006 showing 1.14x to 1.38x better performance. So Integer performance appears to be only slightly better, floating point gets close to 40%, and the most noticeable improvement is with memory bandwidth.

ARM Mali-G72 GPU

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Mali-G72 will offer 1.4x performance improvement over 2017 devices, which must be Mali-G71…, and will allow for machine learning directly on the device instead of having to rely on the cloud, better games, and an improved mobile VR experience.

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The new GPU is also 25& more efficient, and supports up to 32 shader cores. GEMM (general matrix multiplication) – used for example in machine learning algorithms – is improved by 17% over Cortex A73.

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Based on the information we’ve got from Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 leak, devices based on ARM Cortex A75/A55 processor and Mali-G72 GPU should start selling in Q1 2018. We may learn a few more details on Monday, once the embargo is lifted.

ARM Chromebooks Run Android Apps Better, Exhibit Longer Battery Life than Intel Chromebooks (Study)

May 24th, 2017 4 comments

Google has been working on supporting Android apps and the Play Store on Chromebooks, which are normally sold with either ARM or Intel processors. So the ability to run Android apps well is one of the things to consider before purchasing a Chromebook. Shrout Research has published a paper entitled “Chromebook Platform Choice Important for Android App Performance” comparing an Acer Chromebook R13 with a Mediatek MT8173C ARM Cortex A72/A53 processor to Acer Chromebook R11 with an Intel Celeron N3060.

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The Intel Chromebook has a smaller resolution so this could be an advantage, so less resources are needed to update the display. However, the ARM processor is significantly more powerful than the Intel one according to GeekBench results, and Chromebook R13 is sold for $399 on Amazon US, while Chromebook R11 goes for $299 (and lower during promotions). So it’s not a perfect comparison, but it should give an idea especially when it comes to app stability.

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The ARM Chromebook can run Android apps “well” (only minor issues) and “very well”, while the Intel Chromebook also did a good job for entertainment and productivity apps, but performed unreliably, and in some cases very poorly with some social media apps, and games. Since most mobile phones are based on ARM, developers spent more time optimization code for the platform. Some performance issues may also be partially due to different CPU and GPU performance, but the study did not address this at all, except when saying R11 screen resolution was lower.

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The research company also ran “education simulation” in both Chromebooks, not using Android apps, but instead various website and apps in the web browser such as Edmodo, Google Docs, Solar Explorer, etc… and found out the Intel chromebooks was depleting the battery faster with the ARM Chromebook uses 11.5% less power.

One last point shown in the disclaimer at the end of the paper:

This paper was commissioned by ARM Holdings. All testing, evaluation and analysis was performed in-house by Shrout Research and its contractors. Shrout Research provides consulting and research services for many companies in the technology field, other of which are mentioned in this work

Via Brent Sullivan on G+

PragmatIC Manufactures Ultra Thin and Flexible Plastic Electronics Circuit, Plastic ARM Cortex M0 MCU Coming Soon

May 22nd, 2017 4 comments

Electronics manufacturing now relies on silicon wafers, and it works great for many applications. However, some other applications require or benefit from a cheaper price, thinner circuits, and flexibility, and PragmatIC addresses all those three issues with technology to print electronics circuits on plastic sheets.

Plastic Cortex M0 MCUs with Memory

The technology is said to costs less than 1/10th cost of silicon, with the circuit printed on 10 μm thick flexible plastic “wagers” with support for 10 layers. Circuit starts from basic gates up to ARM Cortex M0/M0+ chip as shown above. Simpler circuits are currently sold for as low as $0.01, but the area for Cortex M0 MCU is 1cm2, and a bit too big for commercial applications, so they plan on shrinking the process to make it commercial viable. ARM is an investor in the company, and PragmatIC is ramping production capacity with the ability to manufacture on billion plastic chips/circuits in 2018.

They have 6 types of products/solutions:

  • PragmatIC Compute – Digital logic in silicon, such as the well-known 7400 series, timers, counters. Fully programmable processor cores are still in development… watch this space!
  • PragmatIC Design – Supports third-party design for custom flexICs
  • PragmatIC Power – Variety of wireless energy harvesting approaches with products providing rectification at low frequency (LF, e.g. 125kHz) and high frequency (HF, e.g. 13.56MHz), as well as PragmatIC’s patent-pending Proximity Field Communication (PFC)
  • PragmatIC Talk – Proprietary capacitive identification and LF/HF radio frequency identification (RFID) protocols. Near Field Communications (NFC) solutions are being worked on.
  • PragmatIC Show – Solutions for driving displays or visual indicators, including conventional surface mount LEDs as well as printed display technologies: electrophoretic (EPD, e.g. e-Ink), electrochromic (EC), liquid crystal (LCD) and organic LED (OLED).
  • PragmatIC Sense – Analogue interfaces to sense touch, light, vibration, sound, temperature, etc. Future developments include full analogue-to-digital conversion (ADC) allowing precise measurement of environmental factors.

The price point, flexibility and thinness of the solution makes it suitable for various applications such as RFID or sensors directly on “smart packaging”, security for smartcard and bank notes, toys and games with curved displays, and once plastic MCU are small and cost effective enough their could be used in wearables, for example in smartwatch to offer thinner devices, or larger batteries, or integrated directly into clothes. I also imagine that eventually combining RFID or GPS with energy harvesting technology, it might be possible to have tracking enabled for all kind of goods or documents, even the cheapest ones.

Charbax interviewed the company at IDTechEx discussing the work with ARM, the technology, and various applications.

Realtek RTL8710BN ARM Cortex M4 WiFi MCU, MJIOT-AMB-03 Module & Board, and Ameba 4.0a SDK

May 14th, 2017 5 comments

We’ve already covered Realtek Ameba ARM Cortex M3 WiSoC several times with their RTL8710AF, RTL8711AM and RT8195AM solutions, but the company has now a new “Ameba Z series” relying on an ARM Cortex M4 core starting with RTL8711BN MCU.

RTL8710BN specifications as listed on Realtek website:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex-M4(F) up to 125MHz with FPU (TBC)
  • Memory – 256KB embedded SRAM
  • Storage – 512KB embedded ROM, external flash interface; XIP (eXecut In Place) support
  • Wi-Fi
    • 2.4GHz 1T1R 802.11b/g/n up to 150Mbps; 20MHz and 40MHz
    • WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS support
  • Security engine – MD5, SHA-1, SHA2-256, DES, 3DES, AES
  • Peripheral Interfaces
    • SDIO Slave
    • 2x UART
    • SPI interface (Master/Slave)
    • 2x I2C interface
    • ADC for voltage management
    • 5x PWM
    • Up to 17x GPIOs
  • Package – QFN-32; 5 x 5 mm

AFAIK, other Ameba MCUs do not support XIP, but RTL8710BN and this lowers memory requirements since code can be executed from storage.

RTL8710BN Board (MJIOT-AMB-03-DEBUG)

MJIOT-AMB-03 module – pictured at the top of this post – is the first module based on RTL8710BN, supports up to 128 MB external flash, and includes a PCB antenna, and an u.FL connector. Power consumption is said to be 2.5 mA during operation, and 70 uA during sleep (@ 3.3V?). The module can be made to interface with cloud services such as Ailink, Joylink, QQlink, Hilink, Gagent, and Weichat. You can find a longer list of hardware parameters here.

The module can also be found on MJIOT-AMB-03-DEBUG, a breadboard-friendly board with a micro USB port, two buttons, and a JTAG/SWD header. The module used to be sold for $1.98 and the board for $5 on eBay, but the listings have expired. However, some RTL8710BN items are still for sale on Taobao with a 5 CNY ($0.725) adapter board for MJIOT-AMB-03 module, 13.30 CNY ($1.93) for the module itself, and 30 CNY ($4.35) for the development board. Shipping (to China) adds 8 CNY ($1.15).

However, you can’t do much with an SDK, and kisste, who has been deeply involved in Ameba solutions (see VGA on RTL8710), found out that this module requires a newer Ameba SDK, and that Ameba SDK 4.0A without NDA had just been released with support for RTL8710BN / Ameba Z series MCU and mbedTLS.

RTL8710BN Module (MJIOT-AMB-03 Pinout Diagram