TI's new processor family combines higher performance with real-time processing - Embedded.com

TI’s new processor family combines higher performance with real-time processing

The new Sitara AM437x processor family from Texas Instruments (TI) integrates support for industrial protocols for both automation and industrial drives and includes new features such as dual camera for data terminals with bar code scanning. The AM437x processors enable real-time processing with available quad core programmable real-time units (PRU). The PRU offloads real-time processing from the ARM to manage deterministic tasks such as controlling motors and is robust enough to enable complex functions like multiple industrial fieldbus protocols. The combination of the high performance ARM Cortex-A9 with the integration of peripherals and the PRUs allows customers to develop applications such as factory automation, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, human machine interface (HMI), and more.

In addition to the expansion of the portfolio to provide more performance with the use of the ARM-Cortex-A9 core, Sitara AM437x processors also contain up to 512 kB of on-chip memory, a POWERVR SGXTM 3D graphics accelerator and a display subsystem that enables color space conversion, overlays, resizing and more. Building upon this integration and giving customers the option of using flexible, discrete power designs, the Sitara AM437x processors include simplified power sequencing. Additionally, the companion power management IC TPS65218 offers high-efficiency DC/DC converters with integrated power path and added benefits such as a high-accuracy, integrated voltage supervisor and the lowest power mode, reducing power consumption by 70 percent. This is designed for systems requiring a low-capacity coin-cell battery to support greater than five-year shelf life. The availability of quad-SPI allows execute-in-place (XIP) so the system can run directly from low-cost NOR flash.    

The general-purpose EVM for the Sitara AM437x processors makes it easy for customers to develop a broad variety of applications, including HMI, portable data terminals, asset tracking, patient monitoring, test and measurement and more. The EVM also includes a seven inch capacitive touch LCD screen and has a connector to plug in TI’s WiLink 8 combo connectivity modules. The WiLink 8 modules include software drivers that are integrated and tested with the standard Linux SDK. Customers can purchase the industrial development kit (IDK) in 3Q, which aids development of industrial automation applications, including programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and drives, while enabling simultaneous industrial Ethernet and motor feedback protocols.

The general purpose TMDXEVM437X is available now for $599 from TI.com. The Industrial Development Kit will be available in 3Q for $329. AM437x will begin sampling in July. The mainline Linux SDK is available now.

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