Posts Tagged ‘arm’

Micrium µC/OS RTOS Is Now Free for Makers and Startups

June 24th, 2016 1 comment

According to UBM embedded market study for 2015, Micrium µC/OS real-time operating system only came second after FreeRTOS when the company asked close to 1,000 engineers and managers around the world which operating systems they were currently using in their embedded products. The OS appears to be particularly popular in Asia, and the results are all the more impressive considering it’s a commercial operating systems.

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

But Micrium decided to bring more people on board by announcing a free version called µC/OS for Makers targeting hobbyists and startups (<$100k revenues) in February earlier this year. The real-time operating system includes a preemptive multitasking real-time kernel with optional round robin scheduling, has a low footprint (6K to 24K bytes code space, 1K+ bytes data space), support various types of targets including ARM Cortex-M and Cortex-A based MCU and processors such as STMicro STM32,  NXP Kinetis, Cypress PSoC5, etc.., as well as Atmel AVR, TI MSP430 and many others.

The Maker version of the OS excludes the CAN module, Building Blocks and the Graphical UI library, but comes with USB, TCP/IP, Modbus, and file system stacks. A summary of the different licenses for µC/OS-III is shown in the table below.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

You can find more information on Micrium Maker page, or directly download it  (free email registration required) to try it out on your own platform or board.


ARMv8 64-bit Processors To Replace Intel Xeon and SPARC64 Processors in Some Supercomputers

June 21st, 2016 5 comments

There’s been some news recently about Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer which nows top the list of the 500 fastest super computers with 93 PFLOPS achieved with Linpack, and is comprised of 40,960 Sunway SW26010 260 core “ShenWei” processors designed in China. But another interesting development is that ARMv8 are also slowly coming to supercomputers, starting with TianHe-2 super computer which is currently using Intel Xeon & Xeon Phi processors and second in the list, but according to a report on Vrworld, the US government decided to block US companies’ sales (i.e. Intel and AMD) to China as they were not at the top anymore, and also blocked Chinese investments into Intel and AMD, so the Chinese government decided to do it on their own, and are currently adding Phytium Mars 64-core 64-bit ARM processors to expand TianHe-2 processing power. Once the upgrade is complete Tianhe-2 should have 32,000 Xeons (as currently), 32,000 ShenWei processor, and 96,000 Phytium accelerator cards delivering up to 300 PFLOPS.

Japan K-Computer with Sparc 64 Processor

Japan K-Computer with SPARC64 Processors

One other report on The Register explains that the next generation of K-Computer, currently using Fujitsu SPARC64 processor, will instead feature Fujitsu ARMv8 processors in Post-K super computer in 2020 delivering up to 1000 PFLOPS (or 1 Exa FLOPS).  Details are sparse right now, but we do know Fujissu “has optimized the processor’s design to accelerate math, and squeeze the most of the die caches, hardware prefetcher and its Tofu interconnect”.


More details will likely be offered during “Towards Extreme-Scale Weather/Climate Simulation: The Post K Supercomputer & Our Challenges” presentation at ISC 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany later today.

Thanks to Sanders and Nicolas.

Categories: Linux, Processors Tags: arm, armv8, Linux, server

ARM Announces Mali Egil Video Processor with VP9 Decode, VP9 & HEVC Encode, and 4K @ 120 Hz Support

June 16th, 2016 10 comments

ARM has recently introduced Mali “Egil” video processor with support for VP9 Profile 0 (8-bit) and 10-bit Profile 2decoding, as well as VP9 8-/10-bit, and HEVC Main 10 encoding, on top of the currently supported codecs in Mali V550 VPU unveiled in 2014.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The new VPU can also support displays ranging from 1080p60 up to 4K @ 120 Hz depending on the number of cores chosen in the VPU, clocked at 800 Mhz, and manufacturing using 16 nm FinFET technology.

Mali_Egil_Resolution_4K_120HzMali Egil also brings some other improvements such as a redesign of the motion estimation engine, and finer granularity. From a user’s perspective, that means that 4K YouTube videos should be available in premium mobile devices soon, as well as higher quality video conference thanks to H.265 encode and decode.

You can find some more information in the “Introduction to the Mali Egil Video Processor” presentation slides.

Categories: Hardware Tags: 4k, arm, vp9

Upcoming ARM TrustZone Webinars Explaining Embedded Systems / IoT Security to Non-security Experts

June 14th, 2016 3 comments

Most people understand that securing the IoT is important, but security is a highly a complex subject, and as seen with the many security breaches, even specialists – who in theory should now better – get their devices or online accounts hacked. So even if you are not a security expert, but are involved in the development of embedded systems, it’s important to get acquainted with online and offline security and understand how all this all work, at least from a high level perspective, without necessarily having to dig into the technical details.


ARM is organizing two webinars catering to people who are not security experts, and explaining how they can secure embedded systems using the company’s TrustZone technology.

The first webinar entitled “How to build trust and security into your embedded device” will allow participant to gain an understanding of the security that will need to be applied in their next embedded devices, the technology available, the underlying security principles and different security methods used to protect devices. Examples will be provided, as well as an introduction to ARM security technologies at the end of the presentation.

It will take place on June 14, 2016 with two schedules one for Europe and Asia at 8:00 am (UTC) (i.e. right now…), one for America at 9:00 am (PDT).

The second webinar “Meet the experts: ARM TrustZone – understanding system security” will focus on ARM TrustZone:

ARM’s TrustZone architecture is key in enabling many vital elements of this new ecosystem. The ability to trust code and data and to provide secure access to peripherals, memory systems and communication links is a necessary part of the growing connected world. This webinar will give an overview of the TrustZone architecture as implemented in ARMv8-A systems and then introduce the new TrustZone for ARMv8-M architecture aimed at microcontrollers and deeply embedded systems.

You’ll have more time to get prepared, as it’s scheduled for June 28, 2016 on 8:00 am (UTC) and 9:00 am (PDT).

Both webinars can be accessed here. If you miss the events, recordings will be available.

Raspberry Pi 3 To Get ARM TrustZone Support with Linaro OP-TEE Port

June 9th, 2016 1 comment

If you ever wanted to experiment with ARM Trustzone, and IoT security, you’ll soon be able to do so with the Raspberry Pi 3 board thanks to a port of Linaro OP-TEE (Open Portable Trusted Environment Execution) by Sequitur Labs.

OP-TEE Architecture

OP-TEE Architecture: optee_client, optee_linuxdriver and optee_os

Broadcom BCM2737 SoC found in Raspberry Pi 3 board already had TrustZone hardware for isolation and protection for sensitive material such as cryptographic keys, algorithms and data, but the upcoming software release will mean the feature can now be used, and it’s free for trial/evaluation, and  education. Trustzone is also used for DRM (digital rights management), but in the case of Raspberry Pi 3 it will most likely used to teach how to secure the Internet of Things (IoT).

The release is scheduled for July 11, with source code and documentation to be available in OP-TEE github account. All you’ll need to get started is a Raspberry Pi 3 board, a micro SD  card to load, a Bus blaster, a custom cable to enable bare metal debugging,  a single firmware image with 64-bit Linux, ARM Trusted Firmware, and OP-TEE image, OpenOCD and the configuration file for the Raspberry Pi 3, as well as some code samples and a quick start guide.

Support for OP-TEE will be provided through forums on Linaro.

You may find a few more details in the press release.

ARM announces “premium IP” for VR and AR with Cortex-A73 Processor and Mali-G71 GPU

May 30th, 2016 3 comments

Today ARM has revealed the first details of its latest mobile processor and GPU, both said to be optimized for VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) applications.

Starting with the ARM Cortex-A73, we’re looking at an evolution of the current Cortex-A72 with ARM claiming 30 percent “sustained” performance over the Cortex-A72 and over twice the performance over the Cortex-A57. ARM is already talking about clock speeds of up to 2.8GHz in mobile devices. Other improvements include an increase up to 64k L1 instruction and data cache, up from 48 and 32k respectively for the Cortex-A72, as well as up to 8MB of L2 cache.

ARM_Cortex_A73The Cortex-A73 continues to support ARM’s big.LITTLE CPU design in combination with the Cortex-A53 or the Cortex-A35. It’s also the first ARM core to have been designed to be built using 10nm FinFET technology and it should be an extremely small CPU at around 0.65 square millimeters per core, or a 46 percent shrink from the Cortex-A72. By moving to 10nm and FinFET, ARM is also promising power efficiency gains of up to 20 percent over the Cortex-A72.

Cortex A53 vs A72 vs A73

Cortex A53 vs A72 vs A73

The Mali-G71 GPU takes things even further, as ARM is promising a 50 percent increase in graphics performance, a 20 percent improvement in power efficiency and 40 percent more performance per square millimeter over its previous generation of GPU’s. To accomplish this, ARM has designed the Mali-G71 to support up to 32 shader cores, which is twice as many as the Mali-T880 and ARM claims that this will enable the Mali-G71 to beat “many discrete GPUs found in today’s mid-range laptops”. We’d take this statement with a grain of salt, as it takes more than raw computing performance to do a good GPU and that’s why there are so few companies that are still designing their own GPUs. As with the Cortex-A73, the Mali-G71 is optimized for 10nm FinFET manufacturing technology.

As always with ARM based GPUs, it depends on the partner implementation and the Mali-G71 supports designs with as little as one shader. Looking at most current mobile GPU implementations we’d expect to see most of ARM’s partners to go with a 4-8 shader implementation to keep their silicon cost at a manageable level. That said, we might get to see one or two higher-end implementations, as ARM has already gotten the likes of Samsung, MediaTek, Marvell and Hi-Silicon interested in its latest GPU.


With a big move towards VR and AR, it’s also likely that the ARM partners are going to have to move to a more powerful GPU to be able to deliver the kind of content that will be expected from these market spaces. According to the press release, it looks like ARM has already gotten Epic Games and Unity Technologies interested in supporting their latest GPU

Devices using the new ARM Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71 are expected sometime in 2017, so there’s quite a gap between the announcement and the availability of actual silicon, but with HiSilicon, Marvell, MediaTek, Samsung Electronics and others having already licensed Cortex A73 IP. at least it means we have something to look forward to next year. You can find more details on ARM Cortex A73 and Mali-G71 pages, as well as ARM community’s blog.

Moly PcPhone Runs Windows 10 Continuum on Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Processor, Costs Less than $400

May 9th, 2016 2 comments

Mobile and PC convergence is slowly happening both on Ubuntu with devices like BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, and various Windows 10 Continuum smartphones. The most affordable offering is likely to come from mainland China vendors, such as Moly PcPhone 6″ smartphone based on Qualcomm 617 octa-core Cortex A53 processor with 3GB RAM, and running Windows 10 Continuum.

Moly_PcPhoneMoly PcPhone specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Octa core Coretex A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with Adreno 405 GPU
  • System Memory – 3 GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB flash + micreo SD slot up to 200 GB
  • Display – 6″ Full HD (1920×1080) LTPS display; Gorilla Glass 3
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Dual SIM Dual Standby, Adaptive SIM Slot
    • 2G GSM: Band 2/3/5/8
    • 3G WCDMA: Band 1/6/8/9/19
    • 4G FDD-LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/7/8/9/19/26/28B
    • 4G TDD-LTE: Band 38/40/41
  • Wireless Connectivity – Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC
  • Camera – 13MP auto-focus rear camera with flash LED, 5MP front-facing camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Sensors – G-sensor, PS sensor, Ambient Light sensor,E-Compass
  • Misc – Volume and power keys; FM radio
  • Battery – 3,900 mAh (non replaceable)  good for 400 hours on standby, 16 hours of 3G talk time
  • Dimensions – 160 x 82.3 x 79 mm
  • Weight – 176 grams


The phone runs Windows 10 Mobile with Continuum,  Office apps, Outlook, Skype, Adobe Reader, OneDrive, OneNote, and Microsoft Edge. The phone does not features a USB type C port, nor MHL  support, so that means the only way to use it as a computer is to get a WiDi dongle such as ScreenBeam mini 2 to connect the smartphone to your TV or monitor over WiFi. Charbax filmed a demo of the system connected over a WiDi dongle, and everything worked pretty well, except possibly the PowerPoint presentation animations were not especially smooth.

Bear in mind that only a subset of apps will work with Continuum, and if you intend to print the printer must be compatible with Windows 10 Mobile.

The goods news is that Moly PcPhone should cost less than $400 retail, adding a $60 WiDi will bring the total to $450 to have a device acting as both your phone and computer. More details cmay be available on Moly PcPhone website.


Open Source Mali-200 / Mali-400 GPU Lima Driver Gets New Commits

April 3rd, 2016 6 comments

The Lima driver, a project aimed at providing an open source driver for ARM Mali-400 and Mali-200 GPUs, was introduced 4 years ago, and after some reverse engineering work, a Quake 3 demo was showcase later in 2013 with an intermediate version of the Lima drivers. However, the main developer (libv) eventually lost interest or lacked time to further work, and the latest commit was made in June 9, 2013. But another developer (oklas) committed some code to limadriver-ng just a few days ago.

Lima_Driver_Pull_RequestBut don’t get too excited, as the modifications are minor with some build fixes, some other Makefile modifications, and only one C file modified with 6 new lines of code. But maybe that’s just the beginning… We’ll see.

Mali-400 GPU is now rather old, so why would somebody work on this? One explanation could be C.H.I.P and Pine A64 boards are both based on Allwinner SoCs with a Mali-400 GPU, but a more likely explanation is that libv invited new developers on

2015-12-20: this project looking for developers, if you’d like to try, come to our IRC #lima :)

So we’ll have to see how this all turns out, and if somebody is indeed motivated on working on the port. If so, C.H.I.P and Pine A64 boards, as well as other Mali-400 based platforms, could get open source GPU drivers.

Thanks to Luka via Reddit, where you can find some more details about the timeline.