ARM TechCon: XMOS adds ARM Cortex-M3 processor to configurable xCORE multicore MCU

October 30, 2013

Toni_McConnel-October 30, 2013

XMOS's http://www.xmos.com/ xCORE-XA is a range of eXtended Architecture xCORE devices that combine the company’s configurable multicore microcontroller technology with an ultra-low-power ARM Cortex-M3 processor. According to the company, xCORE-XA represents a dramatic leap forward in the evolution of programmable SoC devices. The xCORE-XA devices allow engineers to create an integrated SoC that is configured completely in high level software. The new line is the result of a partnership between XMOS and Silicon Labs.

The new architecture allows embedded system designers to use high-level software to configure a device with the exact set of interfaces and peripherals needed for their design, while at the same time re-using existing ARM binary code and taking advantage of ultra-low energy peripherals. Designers can also add real-time data-plane plus control processing and DSP blocks, using multiple xCORE processor cores, with the ARM available to run larger control plane processing software such as communication protocol stacks, standard graphics libraries, or complex monitoring systems. xCORE-XA delivers all of this in a single low-cost, ultra-low-energy, programmable SoC that is programmed completely in C-code.


The configurable xCORE multicore microcontroller technology features multiple deterministic 32bit processor cores that execute high-level code concurrently. It allows customers to software-configure the exact combination of peripherals and interfaces required for their designs, and enables the most demanding hard real-time requirements with timing-precise execution. It also delivers advanced DSP and security processing. xCORE-XA extends these capabilities, offering designers access to the rich ARM ecosystem, including standard code libraries that can dramatically accelerate product design time.

The first device in this new family, the XA-U8-1024, features eight 32bit processors (seven xCORE logical cores plus an ARM Cortex-M3 processor), 192KB SRAM, and 1024KB of Flash. The device includes a low energy USB interface, ultra low-energy peripherals and analog functions including ADC, DAC, op-amps and capacitive sensing comparators. Future family members will include 6-core and 8-core products with Flash sizes ranging from 512KB to 1024KB, and device variants with or without the low-energy USB 2.0 interface. Like all xCORE-XA devices, the XA-U8-1024 can make use of the wide range of xSOFTip software peripherals from XMOS’s growing library and is supported with an integrated design-flow, by the xTIMEcomposer Suite of tools that includes comprehensive design entry, compilation and debug support for both the ARM and multiple xCORE processor cores.

XMOS will be demonstrating xCORE-XA at the ARM TechCon conference in San Jose, CA on October 30th 2013. Engineering samples and initial development boards will be available to lead customers in November 2013. Full production will ramp in Q1 2014.

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