NXP Semiconductors has developed a new class of digital signal controller based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor core using an ultra low-leakage 90-nm process technology. This enables performance in excess of 150MHz, as well as very low active power consumption. In addition, the MCUs will offer extremely low power down currents using design techniques proprietary to NXP. With the high-efficiency signal processing functionality of the Cortex-M4, the NXP microcontrollers are designed for a broad range of applications, including sophisticated motor control, digital power control and embedded audio.
NXP is demonstrating a 7-channel audio graphic equalizer application processing 32-bit precision audio data that requires only 12 MHz of CPU bandwidth using the Cortex-M4 DSP extensions, and 60 MIPs without.
Traditional microcontrollers are designed to perform control-oriented applications but are not well suited for sophisticated digital signal processing algorithms. Adding a separate DSP can make the over all system extremely complex and costly. However, with the optimized high-performance DSP extensions on the Cortex-M4, this new class of DSC is designed to solve both control and signal processing easily and seamlessly.
The ARM Cortex-M4 processor has an extensive set of single cycle multiply-accumulate (MAC) instructions; optimized single instruction multiple data (SIMD) instructions; saturated arithmetic instructions; as well as a single precision Floating Point Unit (FPU). Coupled with speeds exceeding 150MHz, NXP’s Cortex-M4-based MCUs are ideal for processing analogue data and complex processing algorithms.
“Our newest microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor will be an important part of NXP’s High Performance Mixed Signal portfolio, providing embedded system designers with an effective way to process data from complex analog peripherals,” said Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors. “The DSP extensions of the Cortex-M4 offer significant advantages, for example, offering 5 to 10 times improvement in complex DSP algorithms.”
“NXP and ARM have brought together technologies that will change the landscape of DSC market significantly,” said Paul Beckmann, CEO of NXP partner DSP Concept. “We are already porting all of our algorithms to support the NXP DSC platform.” NXP is engaging with key customers now and is on track to deliver functional products to the broader market at the beginning of 2011.