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Microchip extends 32bit MCU family

Posted: 03 Jan 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:32-bit microcontrollers  IDE  peripheral-compatible 


Microchip Technology has announced the PIC32 family of 32-bit microcontrollers. The PIC32 family adds more performance and more memory while maintaining pin, peripheral and software compatibility with Microchip's 16-bit MCU/DSC families. To further ease migration and protect tool investments, the PIC32 family is fully supported by Microchip's free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The MPLAB IDE offers compatibility by supporting Microchip's complete portfolio of 8-, 16- and 32-bit devices.

"As a world leader in embedded-control solutions, Microchip is introducing the PIC32 family to build on the success of our vast 8- and 16-bit portfolio and offer customers a seamless migration path that bridges product families," said Ganesh Moorthy, executive VP of Microchip. "We provide designers with the most compatible environment in the industry for developing systems with 8-, 16-, and 32-bit MCUs!"

Consumers' desire for ever-more engaging end products is driving system requirements for increased memory capacity, performance and functionality. Launching with seven general-purpose members, the PIC32 family operates at up to 72MHz and offers ample code- and data-space capabilities with up to 512KB Flash and 32KB RAM. The PIC32 family also includes a rich set of integrated peripherals, significantly reducing total design complexity and cost. Examples include a variety of communication peripherals, a 16-bit Parallel Master Port supporting additional memory and displays, as well as a single-supply on-chip voltage regulator.

"Microchip brings a new perspective to the ever-growing 32-bit microcontroller market, born of their tremendous success in the 8-bit market," said Tom Starnes, processor analyst at semiconductor market research firm Objective Analysis. "The peripheral-compatible PIC32 family should bring comfort to Microchip's customers, knowing that the headroom is available as their applications evolve."

The PIC32 family is based on the industry-standard MIPS32 architecture, with its combination of high performance, low power consumption, fast interrupt response and extensive industry tool support. The high-performance MIPS32 M4K core can achieve 1.62 DMIPS/MHz operation, due to its efficient instruction-set architecture, 5-stage pipeline, hardware multiply/accumulate unit and up to 8 sets of 32 core registers. To reduce system cost, the PIC32 supports MIPS16e 16 bit ISA—enabling code-size reductions of up to 25 per cent.

All PIC32 products are supported by Microchip's development tools, including the MPLAB IDE, the MPLAB C32 C compiler, the MPLAB REAL ICE emulation system, the MPLAB ICD 2 in-circuit debugger and the Explorer 16 development board.

The PIC32 is launching with broad tool support throughout the industry. Complete tool chains are available from Ashling, Green Hills and Hi-Tech—including C and C++ compilers, IDEs and debuggers. RTOS support is available from CMX, Express Logic, FreeRTOS, Micrium, Segger and Pumpkin. Graphics tools providers include EasyGUI, Segger, RamTeX and Micrium.

The PIC32 Starter Kit comes complete with everything that developers need to get started, including the USB-powered MCU board, the MPLAB IDE and MPLAB C32 C complier, documentation, sample projects with tutorials, schematics, and 16-bit compatible peripheral libraries. Application expansion boards are also being made available, which plug into the expansion slot on the bottom of the MCU board.

"PIC MCUs have a strong heritage of ease of use and migration compatibility," said Patrick Johnson, director of Microchip's High Performance Microcontroller Division. "PIC32 builds on this heritage, and offers new levels of performance and system capabilities to embedded application designers."

The first seven members of the PIC32 family come in 64- or 100-pin TQFP packages. PIC32MX300F032H has 32KB Flash and 8KB RAM in a 64-pin TQFP. The PIC32MX360F512L, comes with a 512KB Flash and 32KB RAM in a 100-pin TQFP. The PIC32 family has been sampling into early adopter designs and is now available for general sampling. Volume production for all seven members is expected in Q2 2008.

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