TI adds 32-bit family to familiar MCU series
Texas Instruments (TI) rolled out its MSP432, a 32-bit alternative to the 16-bit MSP430 family of microcontrollers. It is also a new ARM-based MCU family designed to provide both MSP430 and ARM M0 developers migration paths to a more powerful and feature laden - but low power - architecture.
In order to create this low power architecture, TI built the MSP432 around the powerful Cortex-M4F core architecture (Figure 1) rather than the Cortex-M0 core developed by ARM in 2008 as a 32-bit alternative for licensees targeting applications that used 8- and 16-bit MCUs.
In an interview with EE Times, TI Product Marketing Engineer Mione Plant explained that, when it was first introduced, the Cortex-M0 was a good architecture for the embedded applications that existed at that time. Created to specifically target 8- and 16-bit slots, the 3-stage pipelined M0 implemented a minimum subset of instructions, mostly 16-bit Thumb 1 instructions and some Thumb 2 type 32-bit instructions, with the aim of achieving a very small die size and power consumption.
However, Plant emphasized, the nature of both traditional industrial control applications and new Internet of Things applications require something that is more feature- and compute-rich, as well as low in power.
TI's answer in the MSP432 is to use a 48MHz ARM Cortex-M4F core (Figure 1) as its starting point. In addition to a dedicated floating point accelerator, the MF4 incorporates all the features needed in a more complex connected environment:
- Thumb 1 and Thumb 2 instruction sets, as well as a variety of extensions needed in many new personal electronics devices based for wearable and IoT applications and industrial control
- 32-bit hardware multiply with 32-bit or 64-bit result, signed or unsigned
- Add or subtract after the multiply
- 32-bit hardware divide (2-12 cycles)
- Saturated math support
- A DSP extension with single cycle 16/32-bit MAC, single cycle dual 16-bit MAC; and 8/16-bit SIMD arithmetic.
MSP430 developers will recognize some aspects of the new architecture as a number of resources from that MCU that have been ported to the MSP432 (Figure 2), including the driver libraries, real time clock, timer/pulse width modulator, watchdog time, JTAG, AES-256, UART/SPI/I2C features, and analog functions such as comparators, voltage reference, temperature sensor, and capacitive touch I/O.
Continue reading on Embedded's sister site, EE Times: "TI's 32-bit 'successor' to the 16-bit MCU."
Join over 2,000 technical professionals and embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware developers at ESC Boston May 6-7, 2015, and learn about the latest techniques and tips for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the development process.
Passes for the ESC Boston 2015 Technical Conference are available at the conference's official site, with discounted advance pricing until May 1, 2015. Make sure to follow updates about ESC Boston's other talks, programs, and announcements via the Destination ESC blog on Embedded.com and social media accounts Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
The Embedded Systems Conference, EE Times, and Embedded.com are owned by UBM Canon.