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ARM Cortex-A8 MPUs suit industrial apps

Posted: 04 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor  processor  TI ARM MPU  industrial application 

AM3505, AM3517 MPUs

Texas Instruments Inc. releases the first devices of the company's Sitara family of ARM microprocessors: the AM3505 and AM3517 MPUs, plus the AM3517 evaluation module. The ARM MPUs are the first Cortex-A8 processor-based solutions optimised for industrial applications. The AM35x devices offer multiple device packages, industrial temperature options, peripheral integration, graphics capabilities and high computational performance at <1W power levels. The MPUs make it possible for industrial designs to be fanless and completely air-tight so the embedded systems can endure rigorous operating environments.

The highly integrated AM35x processors provide designers with a system cost reduction of up to Rs.488.15 ($10) through multiple on-chip peripherals including a CAN controller and Ethernet MAC (EMAC). The many connectivity interfaces allow for easier implementation of network, device and sensor communications across a wide breadth of products including industrial automation, electronic point of service, portable data terminals and single board computers.

The AM3505 is a 500MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor that provides 1,000 Dhrystone MIPS, enabling users to run full featured OS and experience faster Web browsing. Its industrial temperature range of -40°C to 85°C allows customers to operate in harsh development environments ranging from sub freezing temperatures to extreme heat. Power consumption of <1W in typical applications cuts the need for heat sinks and fans, allowing silent and air-tight industrial designs. The MPU also offers a display sub-system with picture-in-picture, colour space conversion, rotation and resizing support that provides flexibility to connect to LCD display for vibrant, crisp and high-resolution images.

In addition, an integrated CAN controller supports local control of sensors and controllers, while connectivity options with a USB 2.0 high-speed on-the-go with built-in PHY conserves board space, and a 10/100 EMAC for network communications, control of industrial devices and remote rebooting cuts the need for technicians to physically monitor and service systems. The MPU's DDR2 memory support reduces overall cost of system memory, and 3.3V I/O eliminates the need for level shifters and lowers system costs. It is software compatible with TI's OMAP processors, and leverages the low power technology from TI's OMAP applications processors.

The AM3517 evaluation module builds on the AM3505 with an additional PowerVR SGX graphics engine to accelerate 3D GUIs. The graphics engine can process up to 10Mpolygons/sec and supports OPENGL ES 2.0.

The two devices are sampling in 0.65mm BGA and 1mm BGA package options. The XAM3505ZCN is priced at Rs.1,047.09 ($21.45) and the XAM3517ZCN at Rs.1,171.57 ($24) for 1,000 units. In order to speed development, designers can use the Rs.48,766.60 ($999) TMDXEVM3517 evaluation module with a Linux Software Development Kit. Windows Embedded CE support is planned for Q4 09 and additional OS and RTOS are planned for Q1 10.

For application notes and technical articles on microprocessors, visit Embedded Design India.

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