Atmel has expanded its SAMA5 Cortex A5 embedded processor family with SAMA5D4 series adding an optional video processing unit capable of decoding H264, VP8 and MPEG4 at 720p / 30fps, as well as support for ARM NEON and TrustZone technology. There are also some other changes with regards to connectivity: no Gigabit Ethernet, more UART interfaces, less SPI interfaces, etc…
Key features listed of Atmel SAMA5D4 series::
- ARM Cortex-A5 core up to 528MHz (840DMIPS) with NEON & TrustZone support, 2x 32KB L1 cache, and 128KB L2 cache.
- Optional 720p hardware video decoder supporting H264/263, VP8, JPEG, and MPEG4.
- Graphic LCD TFT controller with overlays for image composition, resistive touchscreen controller.
- CMOS image sensor interface.
- Three high-speed USB ports (configurable as three hosts or two hosts and one device port).
- Dual EMAC 10/100 with IEEE1588 support (Precision Time Protocol).
- Other I/Os – 8x UART, 8x SPI, 4x TWI, 2 HS SDIO/SD/MMC, 2x I2S
- Advanced security features to prevent counterfeiting, secure external communication, and authenticate the system:
- On-the-fly encryption/decryption of code from external DDR.
- Encryption engines supporting AES/3DES, RSA, ECC – TRNG, SHA.
- Tamper detection pins.
- Memory content protection (secure key storage).
- Temperature Range – -40/+85°C
- BGA289 and BGA361 in 0.8mm pitch.
There are currently 4 MPUs available in SAMA5D4 series:
- SAMA5D41 – ARM Cortex -A5 MPU, 528Mhz, Neon, L2 cache, Trust Zone, Security, 16-bit DDR, BGA289
- SAMA5D42 – ARM Cortex -A5 MPU, 528Mhz, Neon, L2 cache, Trust Zone, Security, 16/32-bit DDR, BGA361
- SAMA5D43 – ARM Cortex -A5 MPU, 528Mhz, Neon, L2 cache, Trust Zone, Security, Hardware video decoder, 16-bit DDR, BGA289
- SAMA5D44 – ARM Cortex -A5 MPU, 528Mhz, Neon, L2 cache, Trust Zone, Security, Hardware video decoder,16/32-bit DDR, BGA361
The company has developed a Linux distribution based on Yocto Poky for SAMA5D4 MPUs available on linux4sam.com, and the platform also is supported in mainline kernel. An Android 4.4 KitKat port will be available in December 2014 on http://www.AT91.com/android4sam. If your application does not require an operating systems, Atmel also provides over 40 drivers written in C language. Finally for graphics interface development, an SDK based on Qt5 including demos, widgets, background images, icons, and useful graphical elements will be provided.
There aren’t any low cost development kits such as SAMA5D3 Xplained board for now, but ATSAMA5D4-EK development kit including a 7″ capacitive display is available now, and comes with a Linux distribution running a Qt5 demo capable of playing 720p videos. The demo image and a getting started guide are available on Linux4SAM Wiki.
SAMA5D4 samples are available now. SAMA5D43 which include a 720p video decoder will sell for $8.95 in 1k order. Atmel ATSAMA5D4-EK is also said to be available for purchase for $695, but I could not find the SKU on Atmel e-Store yet. You may find more information about the new SAMA5D4 eMPU family on Atmel SAMA5 page.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.