Multicore MPU family integrates GPU, security, PMIC

LONDON — STMicroelectronics has launched the STM32MP1, a multicore microprocessor series with compute and graphics support combined with power-efficient real-time control using its OpenSTLinux distribution software.

The microprocessor unit (MPU) is effectively a system-on-chip (SoC), utilizing the STM32 heterogeneous architecture that combines Arm Cortex-A and Cortex-M cores, a graphics processor unit (GPU), embedded hardware security, 37 communications interfaces, and supports a wide range of memories. In addition, the chipset includes a dedicated power management IC (PMIC) enabling a space saving companion chip for the MPU in battery-powered devices.

ST said it is bringing in the general-purpose microprocessor for developers looking to migrate from a microcontroller to a microprocessor for greater performance, and targeting solutions in industrial, consumer, smart home, health and wellness applications.

Its flexible architecture performs fast processing and real-time tasks on a single chip, achieving high power efficiency. For example, by stopping Cortex-A7 execution and running only from the more efficient Cortex-M4, power can typically be reduced to 25%. From this mode, going to standby further cuts power by 2.5k times — while still supporting the resumption of Linux execution in 1 to 3 seconds, depending on the application.

The STM32MP1 series comprise dual Arm Cortex-A7 application processor cores running at 650MHz and a high-performance Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller core running at 209MHz. The STM32MP1 supports cost-efficient and DDR SDRAMs, including DDR3, DDR3L, LPDDR2, LPDDR3 32/16-bit at 533MHz, which prevents performance bottlenecks and bandwidth issues on MPU systems. On top of this, the STM32MP1 supports a wide range of flash products: eMMC, SD card, SLC NAND, SPI NAND and Quad-SPI NOR.

It also embeds a 3D graphics processor unit (GPU) to support human machine interface (HMI) displays, based on OpenGL ES 2.0 interface and native support for Linux and various application frameworks, including Android Qt. It supports 24-bit parallel RGB displays up to WXGA at 60fps and MIPI® DSI with 2 data lanes running at 1Gbps.

The STM32MP1 microprocessor architecture (Source: STMicroelectronics).

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