Microchip SAMA7G54 is a single-core Arm Cortex-A7 microprocessor for low power AI camera & audio applications

Microchip has just announced the 1 GHz SAMA7G54 single-core Arm Cortex-A7 microprocessor (MPU) with MIPI CSI-2 and parallel camera interfaces, as well as up to four I2S, one SPDIF transmitter and receiver, and a 4-stereo channel audio sample rate converter.

The company specifically launched a single-core processor to offer a lower power solution for AI camera and audio solutions, and the chip is coupled with the MCP16502 power management IC that has been optimized to provide the best power/performance ratio for the SAMA7G54.

Microchip SAMA7G54 specifications:

  • CPU – Arm Cortex-A7 based MPU @ up to 1GHz with 256KB L2 cache
  • Memory – DDR2/DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3 up to 533MHz
  • Storage – Quad SPI, Octal SPI, 3x SD/eMMC
  • Camera I/F – MIPI CSI-2 (2-lane up to 1.5 Gbps each) and 12-bit parallel camera Up to 8 Mpixel @ 30 fps
  • Audio – Up to 4x I2S, PDM, SPDIF (Rx/Tx), 4 stereo channel ASRC
  • Networking – 2x Ethernet MAC (10/100/1000 Gbit + 10/100 Mbit)
  • USB – 3x HS USB PHY
  • Other peripherals – Up to 12x FLEXCOMs, 6x CAN FDs, 16x ADC Channels (12-bit resolution, up to 1000 ksps sampling rate)
  • Security – Secure Boot, HW Cryptography (AES/TDES/SHA/RSA/ECC), On-the-fly encryption/decryption from external memories, 11 kB OTP for key storage
  • Package – TFBGA343 14mm x 14mm, 0.65 mm pitch; designed to facilitate 4-layer PCB designs
Devkit block diagram (left) and MPU block diagram (right)

While the company mentions artificial intelligence (AI) several times in the press release, I don’t see any AI accelerator, so any workload would run on the Arm Cortex-A7 CPU, possibly leveraging NEON instructions. The device is supported by Microchip’s mainline Linux distribution (linux4sam), and MPLAB Harmony v3 embedded software development framework enables bare-metal and RTOS support.

The SAMA7G54 Evaluation Kit allows to get started quickly with the new processor, and comes with the following features:

  • SoC – Microchip SAMA7G54-V/4HB Arm Cortex-A7 microprocessor running up to 1GHz
  • System Memory – 16-bit, 4Gbit (512MB) DDR3L
  • Storage – 32Gbit (4GB) eMMC flash, 1Gbit (128MB) Octal SPI flash, 2x EEPROMs w/ EUI-48TM MAC ID, 1x SD card slot
  • Camera I/F – Raspberry Pi CSI camera interface
  • Audio
    • S/PDIF RX and TX ports
    • 4x digital microphone ports
  • Networking
    • Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, 10/100M Fast Ethernet port
    • Pad for ATWILC3000 Wi-Fi/BT module (unpopulated)
  • USB – 3x USB ports (Type-A, Type-C, and micro USB)
  • Serial – 2x CAN interfaces via terminal block
  • Expansion
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi expansion header
    • 2x mikroBUS connectors
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB port or DC jack

Microchip SAMA7G54 is available now for $7.75 each in 10,000-unit quantities, while the evaluation kit sells for $330. The chip is probably about twice as expensive as similar solutions from Allwinner and SigmaStar, but the company is maintaining Linux 5.15 LTS for the chip and the documentation is much better (e.g. 3000+ page datasheet), so projects failure and/or delays are less likely. More details may be found on the product pages for the microprocessor and evaluation kit.

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6 Replies to “Microchip SAMA7G54 is a single-core Arm Cortex-A7 microprocessor for low power AI camera & audio applications”

  1. Wonder how much

    ” Renesas will demonstrate Cortex-M85 in Hall 1 on Stand 234 (1-234) at Embedded World Nuremburg 21-24 June. ” Will end up costing if they manage to sell in 2023.

  2. >The chip is probably about twice as expensive as similar
    >solutions from Allwinner and SigmaStar, 

    The SSD202D is apparently ~$4 right now. You’d still need memory for this.. so I think the complete solution would be a bit over half cheaper as long as you don’t factor in wasted engineering time.

    Imagine if Chinese chip vendors actually embraced the community, released documentation etc. They’d be able to totally destroy the market for stuff like this aside from medical and automotive.

    1. I agree that Chinese SOC vendors could destroy the US and EU SOC market if they embraced open doc and mainlined their kernels. Plus they’d need to get chips into the distributors but that is not hard to do. Missing the US/EU market is self-inflicted, there are no barriers preventing this.

      One very simple thing which would make a huge difference — put their existing code/doc onto publicly accessible git servers. Stop forcing US/EU developers to inefficiently work through Chinese intermediary companies. And keep these servers updated!

  3. This is actually a great platform, albeit for industrial use mostly. It is certainly more expensive than the ones from Chinese vendors, but you pay a premium for out-of-the-box mainline kernel support, long term availabilty – info is scarce on the competing chips in this regard besides NXP maybe, they are available now, but 5 years later they all might be completely unavailable, the documentation on the Linux4SAM site is also great and descriptive. These services and promises cost money and this is where the vendors like Allwinner or Rockchip usually cut corners.

  4. JFC I hate this stupid fucking planet. Frak you Microchip! Screw you ARM!

    This gosh darned “news” reads WAY WAY too close to this other cnx-softwar article, from a decade ago, the Sama5d3 announcement:
    https://www.cnx-software.com/2013/02/05/atmel-introduces-sama5d3-cortex-a5-embedded-mpus-and-evaluation-kits/

    There’s a couple more mhz, and like the latter SAMA5D2 it has DDR3, but it’s basically a rebadge of fragging 10 year old kit! I still love & adore my SAMA5D3 Xplained kit, but this pace of progress is an insult, Arm is just a trashfire of incompetence, there is absolutely nothing happening in this space, these companies are grossly incompetent & useless, & there’s no one, not a single company, who appears to be trying. This is the worst, saddest, most disappointing news I’ve heard in ARM space in a while, and that’s after many years of there not being much good to be excited about.

    What a sad sad useless industry, with zero motivation to try. ARM is pathetic.

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