STMicroelectronics has launched the STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), based on the latest ARM Cortex-M4 core. This adds to the signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the portfolio of STM32 MCUs.
The STM32 F4 series brings the world’s highest performance Cortex-M MCUs at 168 MHz FCPU/210 DMIPS and 363 Coremark score.
Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager-India, Microcontroller Division, Greater China and South Asia region, STMicroelectronics Marketing Pvt Ltd, said that the series extends the ST'M32 portfolio of 250+ compatible devices already in production, including the F1 series, F2 series and ultra-low-power L1 series, respectively. ST is said to have 45 percent of the market share by units.
The STM32 F4 series of MCUs are re-inforced on five pillars:
* Real-time performance -- 168MHz/210 DMIPS.
* Outstanding power efficiency.
* Superior and innovative peripherals.
* Maximum integration - 1Mbyte Flash, 192 Kbyte SRAM.
* Extensive tools and hardware -- CMSIS DSP library, Matlab support, various IDE starter kits, RTOS and stacks.
A Coremark study says that STM32 F4 gives the best acceleration and highest speed. Thapliyal added, "We are ready for the market." It takes ART to be #1 in performance: It is a combination of core, embedded Flash design, process, acceleration techniques, etc.
ST's ART Accelerator, an adaptive real-time memory unleashes the Cortex M4 core's maximum processing performance equal to 0-wait state execution, and Flash upto 168MHz. Real-time performance is the 32-bit multi AHB bus matrix. The layers are independent of each other.
The STM32 F4 series boasts a high-performance digital signal controller. The MCU leads to the ease of use of C programming, interrupt handling and ultra-low power. The FPU facilitates single precision, ease of use, better code efficiency, faster time to market, eliminates scaling and saturation, and easier support for meta-language tools. The DSP is based on Harvard architecture, single-cycle MAC and barrel shifter.
It also boasts of an outstanding power efficiency. The 230 μA/MHz, 38.6 mA at 168 MHz executing Coremark benchmark from Flash memory (with peripherals off), has been made possible with:
* ST’s 90nm process allowing the CPU core to run at only 1.2 V.
* ART Accelerator reducing the number of accesses to Flash.
* Voltage scaling to optimize performance/power consumption.
* VDD min down to 1.7 V.
* Low-power modes with backup SRAM and RTC support.
The low power in real-life applications is not just low-power mode. There is also a need to consider the percentage of time spend in low-power (LP) mode and in Run mode. If competitors are claiming better low-power modes, these are only an advantage if the overall system is spending more than 90 percent of the time doing nothing in low-power mode.
Superior and innovative peripherals includes, among others, two USB OTGs, two full duplexes PWMs at 168MHz, ADC at 2.4MSPS.
As for maximum integration, the 1-Mbyte Flash and 192-Kbyte SRAM memories available in the product accommodate advanced software stacks and user data, with no need for external memories. The 4-Kbyte SRAM battery back-up is used to save the application state and calibration data (SRAM block used as an EEPROM). In addition, the 528 bytes of OTP memory make it possible to store critical user data, such as the Ethernet MAC addresses or cryptographic keys.
ST is providing an evaluation board for full product feature evaluation. This includes a hardware evaluation platform for all interfaces. There is a possible connection to all I/Os and all peripherals. A Discovery kit for cost-effective evaluation and prototyping is also available at $14.90. A large choice of development IDE solutions from the STM32 and ARM ecosystem is also available.
The STM32 F4 portfolio consists of the 405 and 415 families that supports 64, 100 and 144 pins, and the 407 and 417 families that supports 100, 144 and 176 pins.
Application areas served by the STM32 F4 series include points of sale/inventory management, building, security/fire/HVAC, industrial automation and solar panels, test and measurement, consumer, communication, transportation and medical.
The final Cortex-M MCU volume in 2010 was 144 million units. Growth into 2011 continues to be strong and healthy. STM32 already has ~ 45 percent of market share in cumulated Cortex-M shipments.