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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Microchip adds dual panel flash and M4 FPU core to SAM controllers

By Nick Flaherty

Microchip has launched two new microcotnroller families based around the SAM designs from its acquisition of Atmel. The SAM D5x and SAM E5x families add more memory and connectivity interfaces, higher performance cores and robust hardware-based security for a wide variety of applications.

The SAM D5/E5 microcontrollers combine an ARM Cortex-M4 processor with a Floating Point Unit (FPU) running at 120MHz for higher performance with up to 1 MB of dual-panel Flash with Error Correction Code (ECC) that allows live updates with no interruption to the running system. The families are also available with up to 256 KB of SRAM with ECC for mission-critical applications such as medical devices or server systems.

Indicative pricing is not available at this time but the families will be competing with the Giant Gecko controllers from Silicon Labs that start at $5.

Both families include a Quad Serial Peripheral Interface (QSPI) with an Execute in Place (XIP) feature. This allows the system to use high-performance serial Flash memories, which are both small and inexpensive compared to traditional pin parallel Flash, for external memory needs. 

The D5/E5 devices also feature a Secure Digital Host Controller (SDHC) for data logging, a Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC) for capacitive touch capabilities and active power performance of 65 uA/MHz for applications requiring power efficiency. 

The SAM E5 family has two CAN-FD ports and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet Media Access Controller (MAC) with IEEE 1588 support, making it well suited for industrial automation, connected home and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications. 

Both the SAM D5x and E5x families contain comprehensive cryptographic hardware and software support, enabling developers to incorporate security measures at a design’s inception. Hardware-based security features include a Public Key Cryptographic Controller (PUKCC) supporting Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) and RSA schemes as well as an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cipher and Secure Hash Algorithms (SHA).

The $85 SAM E54 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit is available to kick-start development. The kit incorporates an on-board debugger, as well as additional peripherals, to further ease the design process. All SAM D5x/E5x MCUs are supported by the Atmel Studio 7 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) as well as Atmel START, a free online tool to configure peripherals and software to accelerate development.

SAM D5x and SAM E5x devices are available today in a variety of pin counts and package options in volume production quantities.

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