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32bit MCU integrates flash, SRAM to enable IoT apps

Posted: 28 Feb 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Renesas Electronics  flash  SRAM  MCU  Internet of Things 

Renesas Electronics Corp. has announced the availability of the RX64M group of microcontrollers (MCUs), its first product in the flagship RX family of 32bit MCUs to be fabricated in a 40nm process. Based on the RXv2 CPU core, the MCU Group consists of 112 products running up to 120MHz with zero wait state from the high-speed embedded flash memory and feature both the high-speed real-time performance as well as large memory capacities required by industrial applications and network equipment, noted the company.

The MCUs claim to offer system designers a path to quickly and efficiently develop high-performance, low-power industrial equipment that supports a wide range of communication functions. With the expansion of the connected society and Internet of Things (IoT) markets, there has been rapid growth in diverse IoT-related products such as connected network and industrial equipment used in factory automation and building automation, driving the need for greater CPU computing performance, improved real-time response and ever lower power.


Smart factory and smart building applications are also driving the demand for increased memory capacities, as the deployment of Ethernet, USB and a range of other communications functions becomes more prevalent in these environments, to support all levels of factory communication from the plant level to the device level. Increased memory capacity will also play a key role in supporting further miniaturization of application equipment, and to secure software from unauthorized parties.

Improved development efficiency has also become a critical issue to support the move toward reduced development periods even as the number of process steps and costs from development through testing for software and hardware with expanding capacities and scales increases. Renesas designed the RX64M Group of MCU products to address these issues.

Part of the RX family, which covers a range of applications from mid-range to high-end products, the RX64M MCUs provide a high-end MCU solution for applications that require higher performance, on-chip memory and lower power. Since the MCUs maintain compatibility with the existing product line, system designers working with current RX products can migrate easily to these MCUs. Also, system designers who adopt the RX64M MCUs or other members of the RX Family can take advantage of a powerful set of tools that support both software and hardware development, and these tools can contribute to reducing the number of steps in the development and testing process and to reducing total costs.

The RX64M Group of MCUs are fabricated in a 40nm process. Not only do these MCU embed up to 4MB of the industry's fastest flash memory (120MHz operation with no wait states) and up to 512KB of SRAM, but at the same time they also reduce operating power consumption by 40 percent compared to the earlier Renesas RX MCUs. Furthermore, by adopting the new-architecture RXv2 core, these devices will achieve CPU performance of a total of 504 CoreMark, which is 1.6 times that of the previous generation devices and defines a new threshold for embedded MCU systems overall. Thus the RX64M devices improve both real-time performance and low-power performance, and can contribute to cost reductions by reducing the need for external memory.

In addition to a full complement of communications functions, the RX64M Group of MCUs adds new PWM timer functions. Furthermore, the devices are highly backward compatible, as they feature the functions included in the existing Renesas RX600 Series of MCUs. By including motor control timer functions and an IEEE 1588-compliant Ethernet function, which is required by industrial applications, the new MCUs can improve inter-system synchronization performance and provide flexible support for all types of motor control. In addition to the vast amount of general-purpose serial interfaces, these devices support high-speed communications functions such as two Ethernet MAC and two USB interfaces, supporting the device, host as well as OTG functions, an SD host interface, and a quad serial peripheral interface (QSPI). Furthermore, they include an encoding function to increase reliability and robustness of those communications functions.

For a quick development start, the RX64M MCUs will be supported by a robust development tool environment from both Renesas and third-party tool vendors that make up the RX ecosystem, such as Micrium, Express Logic, CMX, SEGGER and freeRTOS. Both the Eclipse-based e2 studio integrated development environment (IDE) from Renesas as well as the Embedded Workbench for RX (EWRX) IDE from IAR Systems will provide complete build and debug support for the RX64M. In addition to the Renesas Starter Kit for RX64M, which comes with a Renesas E1 On-Chip debugger (JTAG based), Renesas provides the RX Driver Package, which is a collection of driver software for the various on-chip peripherals. Renesas will also provide an interactive, GUI-based code generation tool that is integrated into the e2 studio IDE and allows the user to automatically generate initialization and driver code for the peripherals on the MCU. These software tools, which Renesas will start introducing sequentially from March 2014 will contribute significantly to reducing the number of development steps and costs required for hardware and software development on the RX64M.

Renesas intends to continue development of high-functionality and high-performance MCUs for the industrial equipment and network equipment markets, which are expected to grow rapidly along with the progress in the IoT field.

Samples of the RX64M MCUs are available. Mass production is scheduled to begin in August 2014 and is expected to reach a combined volume of 500,000 units per month by February 2015. (Availability is subject to change without notice).

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