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ARM Cortex-M0+ boasts 9µA/MHz power usage

Posted: 19 Mar 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor  Internet of Things  32bit microcontroller 

ARM Ltd introduces the Cortex-M0+ processor touted as the most-efficient microprocessor that has been optimised to deliver ultra-low-power, low-cost MCUs for intelligent sensors and smart control systems in a broad range of applications including home appliances, white goods, medical monitoring, metering, lighting and power and motor control devices.

The 32bit Cortex-M0+ processor delivers high performance while it consumes just 9µA/MHz on a low-cost 90nm LP process, which is around one third of the energy of any 8- or 16bit processor available today, ARM said.

This combination of low power and high performance provides users of 8- and 16bit architectures with an ideal opportunity to migrate to 32bit devices, thereby delivering increased intelligence to everyday devices, without sacrificing power consumption or area, the company noted.

The Cortex-M0+ processor enables the creation of smart, low-power, microcontrollers to provide efficient communication, management and maintenance across a multitude of wirelessly connected devices, a concept known as the 'Internet of Things.'

Cortex-M0+ processor

The Cortex-M0+ features single-cycle IO to speed access to GPIO and peripherals, improved debug and trace capability and a 2-stage pipeline to reduce the number of cycles per instruction.

This low power connectivity has the potential to enable a range of energy-saving and life-enhancing applications from sensors to wirelessly analyse the performance and control of domestic or industrial buildings, to battery-operated body sensors wirelessly connected to health monitoring equipment. Current 8bit and 16bit MCUs lack the intelligence and functionality to deliver these applications.

The new processor builds on the low-power and silicon-proven Cortex-M0 processor and has been redesigned from the ground up to add a number of significant new features. These include single-cycle IO to speed access to GPIO and peripherals, improved debug and trace capability and a 2-stage pipeline to reduce the number of cycles per instruction (CPI) and improve Flash accesses, further reducing power consumption.

The Cortex-M0+ processor takes advantage of the same easy-to-use, C friendly programmer's model, and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M0 processor tools and RTOS. Along with all Cortex-M series processors it enjoys full support from the ARM Cortex-M ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration to the higher-performance Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors.

The Cortex-M0+ processor is said to be ideally suited for implementation with the Artisan 7-track SC7 ultra high density standard cell library and power management kit (PMK) to fully capitalise on the ground-breaking low power features of the processor.

The Cortex-M0+ processor is fully supported from launch by the ARM Keil microcontroller development kit, which integrates the ARM compilation tools with the KeilµVision IDE and debugger. MDK together with the ULINK family of debug adapters now supports the new trace features available in the Cortex-M0+ processor. Using these tools, ARM partners can take advantage of a tightly coupled application development environment to rapidly realise the performance and ultra-low-power features of the Cortex-M0+ processor.

The processor is also supported by third-party tool and RTOS vendors including CodeSourcery, Code Red, Express Logic, IAR Systems, Mentor Graphics, Micrium and SEGGER.

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