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ATMEL DEBUTS AP7000 FAMILY OF DIGITAL SIGNAL CONTROLLERS.

Atmel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML) has launched the AP7000 family of high-performance 32-bit digital signal controllers, the first family based on the company's high-throughput AVR(R)32 core announced last February. The AVR32 core consistently outperforms competing 32-bit cores in every EEMBC(R) benchmark for performance and code density and executes C/C++ algorithms.

SoC-level Integration

The AP7000 is the first processor family to integrate, on a single chip, virtually all the functionality required for multimedia systems deployed in mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, automotive infotainment, set-top boxes and home entertainment systems as well as network switches/routers and printers. It includes a vectored multiplier co-processor, 32 KB on-chip SRAM, 16 KB instruction and 16 KB data caches, memory management unit, DMA for high-speed peripherals and peripheral DMA controller that allows data to be transferred between peripherals and memories without wasting processor cycles. Peripherals include a 16-bit stereo audio DAC, 2048x2048 pixel TFT/STN LCD controllers, 480 Mbps USB 2.0 with on chip transceivers (PHY) and, two 10/100 Ethernet MACs. Serial interfaces include RS232, USART, I2S, AC97, TWI/I2C, SPI, PS/2 and several synchronous serial modules (SSC) supporting most serial communication protocols.

This high level of integration allows the deployment of software libraries and application code on a single platform, providing better control of system integration, testing and time-to-market.

Integrates High-bandwidth Communications Protocols

AP7000 family integrates USB 2.0 High Speed (480 Mbps) protocol with on-chip transceivers (PHY), thus eliminating completely the requirement for external USB controller. The AP7000 also integrates two 10/100 Mbps Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) blocks for full industry standard connectivity.

Employs Comprehensive Power-saving Strategies

The exceptional throughput of the AVR32 core allows applications to be executed at a lower clock frequency than is required by competing processors. Since power consumption is directly affected by the clock rate, low frequency operation results in an immediate and proportional reduction in power consumption. The AP7000's family dynamically-controlled, multi-clock bus structure and SoC-level integration further reduce system power drain.

For example, streaming a 320x240 MPEG movie over the AP7000's on-chip Ethernet MAC at 100 Mbit/s and decoding it at 30 frames per second requires a CPU clock of only 120 MHz and system bus clock of only 60 MHz. The processor can also simultaneously run a full Linux(R) operating system and drive a QVGA TFT LCD with these clock frequencies. Total power consumption for this application is only 250 mW when using an AP7000-family processor.

Dynamic Frequency Scaling of Four Clock Domains

The AP7000 architecture has a multi-layer, high- speed bus architecture that increases performance by allowing multiple operations to take place in parallel. In addition, there are two peripheral bus bridges that allow different clock frequencies to be set for high- and low-speed peripherals. In a conventional bus structure, the bus clock is determined by the fastest peripheral resulting in slower peripherals that could operate on a slower bus, drawing unnecessary power. The AP7000 architecture allows the dynamic configuration of the individual clock frequencies of these two bridges, as well as those of the CPU's internal clock and that of the bus matrix.

Dynamic frequency scaling algorithms are used to set the clocks in each of the four domains at the lowest possible frequency for the function it is performing. For example, when the application is inactive but a Bluetooth(R) or IrDA(R) data transfer is occurring, clocks for the CPU, bus matrix and high-speed bridge may shut down, while the clock for the slow speed bridge is maintained.

AVR32 Core Outperforms Competing Cores in Every Benchmark for Performance or Code Density.

The AVR32 core was designed from the ground up as a low clock frequency, low-power CPU with special emphasis on 1) maximizing the use of computational resources with a 7 stage pipeline and three parallel sub-pipelines that supports automatic data forwarding and out-of-order execution, 2) single-cycle load/store instructions with pointer arithmetic that reduces cycles required for load/store, 3) accurate branch prediction with zero-penalty branches and 4) maximizing code density to reduce cache misses.

Single Processor Tool Flow.

Unlike multicore or two processor solutions, the AP7000 family uses a single development environment for straightforward debugging. The AVR32 Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is specifically designed for high-level programming languages like C, C++ and Java(R). Compilers with C, and C++ support include GNU GCC and IAR(R) Systems' Embedded Workbench(R). The compilers are able to utilize the AVR32 architecture's SIMD- and DSP instructions from within the C/C++ programming environment. The IAR compiler is optimized to recognize patterns in the C-code that can use SIMD DSP instructions, thus further increasing the ease of use and performance when running compiled C-code applications. Both compilers support access to in-line assembly for tight-loop / inner-loop algorithmic optimizations.

GCC's GNU Debugger (GDB) is available directly from Atmel and plugs directly into many integrated development environments including the Eclipse(TM) debug environment.

The AP7000 family has a fully-supported Linux 2.6 kernel to further ease the transition of existing code or the adoption of the freely available numerous open source applications that are available for use in embedded systems.

Availability and Pricing.

The first device of the AP7000 family, the AT32AP7000, is available now in a 256-ball CABGA package and is priced at $16.60 in quantities of 10,000.

The STK(R)1000 starter kit is available at $499, providing a complete development environment.

Atmel's JTAGICE mk-II is available at $299, providing In-Circuit Emulation support.

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions. Focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets, Atmel ICs can be found Everywhere You Are(R).

Atmel's AVR32 product information may be retrieved at http://www.atmel.com/avr32

For more information, visit http://www.atmel.com or call 408/487-2963.
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Publication:Electro Manufacturing
Date:May 1, 2006
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