Latest Blackfin slashes prices, adds features - Embedded.com

Latest Blackfin slashes prices, adds features

Norwood, MA – Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) today announced the BF51x, the lowest-cost members of its Blackfin processor family. These new chips offer a host of new features, including support for stacked SPI flash. The BF51x targets a range of applications including VoIP phones, portable media players (PMPs), instrumentation, and industrial and and automotive applications.

The BF51x family includes four variants, the ADSP-BF512, ADSP-BF514, ADSP-BF516, and ADSP-BF518. All four run at clock speeds up to 400 MHz, and all four are available with 512 KB of stacked SPI flash. The four variants differ only in their support for removable storage (MMC, SDIO and CE-ATA), Ethernet, and the IEEE 1588-2008 synchronization standard.


Table 1. Pricing and key peripherals for the BF51x.

The BF51x cuts the entry-level pricing for the Blackfin family by roughly 30%. Pricing for the BF51x starts at $4.95 in 25 ku quantities, two dollars below the least-expensive existing Blackfin. The BF51x is not the least expensive DSP on the market, but the new price point makes the Blackfin family significantly more affordable.

Despite its low price, the BF51x offers a number of features not available on previous Blackfin parts. The support for stacked flash is new, as is the support for removable storage. The support for IEEE 1588-2008 is also new—in fact, Analog Devices believes that the BF518 is the first low-cost processor of any kind to support this new standard. (The IEEE 1588-2008 standard, which is also known as IEEE 1588 Version 2, provides high-precision synchronization for networked measurement and control systems.) The list of new features also includes a three-phase PWM unit.


(Click to enlarge)

Figure 1. The BF51x. Items in dashed boxes are not included on all parts.

In addition to these features, the BF51x also cranks down the standby power. ADI reports that the BF51x consumes less than 1 mW in standby mode. In comparison, the pervious generation BF52x draws 1-10 mW in standby, while the older BF53x burns over 10 mW. The BF51x also turns in excellent run mode power consumption, achieve a power/performance ratio as high as 8.5 MMACs/mW. (MMACs, or millions of multiply-accumulate operations per second, is a rough measure of DSP performance.)

Compared to the competing Texas Instruments C550x, ADI comes out ahead on run-mode power but trails in standby power. The C550x achieves up to 6.7 MMACs/mW—roughly 15% behind ADI's number—but draws as little as 6.8 μW in deep sleep mode.

The BF51x is sampling now. For more information, see www.analog.com.

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