Tuesday, May 03, 2011

TI launches industry's first FRAM microcontroller

MSP430FR57xx FRAM microcontroller writes up to 100x times faster
By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Texas Instruments has announced the industry’s first ultra-low-power ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) 16-bit microcontrollers that it believes will drive a new era of reliable data logging and RF communication capabilities.
TI claims the new MSP430FR57xx FRAM series ensures data can be written more than 100 times faster and uses as little as 250 times less power than flash- and EEPROM-based microcontrollers. Additionally, the on-chip FRAM allows data retention in all power modes, supports more than 100 trillion write cycles, and delivers a new dimension of flexibility by allowing developers to partition data and programming memory with changes in software and so eliminates existing power consumption and write endurance barriers.

Technology comparison (Source: TI)

Key features 
  • Operating at 100µA/MHz in active mode and 3 µA in real-time clock mode
  • More than 100 trillion write cycle endurance supports continuous data logging, eliminating need for external EEPROM and battery-backed SRAM
  • Unified memory allows developers to easily change memory partitioning between program, data and cache in software, providing inventory management and system cost savings
  • Guaranteed write and data retention in all power modes ensure code safety to simplify the development process, reduce memory test costs and increase end-product reliability
  • Enables reliable remote software upgrades – especially over the air – to provide cheaper, easier software upgrade paths for device manufacturers
  • Integrated FRAM densities up to 16kB as well as analogue and connectivity peripheral options, including 10-bit ADC, 32-bit hardware multiplier, up to five 16-bit timers and multiple enhanced SPI/I2C/UART buses
  • Code compatibility across MSP platform as well as low-cost, easy-to-use tools, comprehensive documentation, user guide and code examples allow developers to get started immediately
  • Simplify system development with broad compatible RF tools from TI
  • Enables intelligent batteryless RF connectivity solutions
  • Built on TI's advanced low power, 130nm embedded FRAM process

The new MSP430FR57xx microcontrollers start at $1.20 at 10K units, and samples and tools are immediately available. The MSP-EXP430FR5739 Experimenter’s Kit is $29 and can be ordered at www.ti.com/fr57xx-pr-ek-es and the MSP-TS430RHA40A Development Kit is $99 and can be ordered atwww.ti.com/fr57xx-pr-dk-es.
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