Eindhoven, the Netherlands: NXP Semiconductors now has working silicon for its newest microcontrollers (MCUs) based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor. The Cortex-M4 DSC family is implemented using an ultra-low-leakage 90-nm process technology that enables performance in excess of 150 MHz as well as low active power consumption.
In addition, the MCUs can provide low-power down currents using techniques proprietary to NXP. Featuring the signal processing functionality of the Cortex-M4, the NXP microcontrollers are designed for a range of applications, including motor control, digital power control, and embedded audio.
Traditional microcontrollers are designed to perform control-oriented applications but aren’t well suited for complex digital signal processing algorithms. Adding a separate DSP can make the overall system costly.
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; and a single-precision floating-point unit (FPU). Coupled with speeds exceeding 150 MHz, the Cortex-M4-based MCUs are ideal for processing analog 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. “The DSP extensions of the Cortex-M4 offer significant advantages, for example, offering five to 10 times improvement in complex DSP algorithms.”