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New Atmel Cortex M3 runs 96MHz with 480Mbps USB

By Bill Giovino
Jun 1, 2009 - 6:10:16 PM

The Atmel Cortex M3 runs at 96MHz and has a lot of very high speed peripherals, including 480Mbps USB
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Atmel has introduced today a new Atmel Cortex M3 flash microcontroller, boasting a high-speed USB interface (480Mb/s). The new device, dubbed the SAM3U,  targets communications-intensive applications

Atmel Cortex M3
Atmel Cortex M3
According to Atmel, target applications of the new Atmel Cortex M3 include industrial, medical, data processing, and telecom. The high speed peripherals make this new Atmel Cortex attractive to high speed gateways. The Atmel Cortex M3 architecture includes a 5-layer system bus matrix, a dual peripheral bus, and 4 central DMA channels with FIFOs buffers.

Features of the new Atmel Cortex M3 include:

  • Atmel Cortex M3 96MHz 32-bit core
  • 1.62 to 3.6V operation
  • Running Power consumption of 500 uA/MHz
  • Sleep mode of 2.5uA
  • Lowest power mode 0.6uA with only RTC running.
  • Low EMI design
  • Up to 256KBytes Flash in two banks
  • External bus interface @ 500Mbits/sec
  • 56KBytes SRAM divided into three blocks
  • 23 DMA channels
  • 12- bit and 10-bit ADCs
  • High Speed USB interface running at 480Mbits/sec with dedicated DMA
  • Five USARTs
  • Two I2C
  • I2S timers
  • Programmable unique chip ID number
  • SDIO/SD/MMC 336 Mb/sec memory card Host interface
  • SPI running at 42Mbits/sec

The separation of the flash into two blocks allows one block to be programmed while the other block is executing code. The Atmel Cortex can be programmed to execute out of either bank at next reboot.

While the Atmel Cortex M3 and the ARM7 share the same hardware abstraction layers along with common peripherals, ARM7 code needs to be recompiled for the Cortex M3.

480Mb/sec USB is not common in today's microcontrollers because of the challenges involved in moving around so much data so quickly. The new Atmel Cortex M3 has solved those challenges by the implementation of a high-speed architecture that seems specifically designed to support the movement of so much data. Atmel's SAM3U USB supports up to seven endpoints and interfaces to a 4K-byte Dual Port RAM. Endpoint types support Bulk, Interrupt, Isochronous, and Control endpoints.

The Atmel Cortex USB interface can support a high speed Flash SD Memory Card, interfacing to on- or off-chip flash memory.

NAND Flash for GBytes mass storage
The Atmel Cortex SAM3U uses a High Capacity SD/MMC Card interface which can interface to a removable NAND Flash card containing up to 32GBytes of storage. The Atmel Cortex has an external bus interface which can directly address SLC NAND Flash via an on-chip controller that supports a 4kByte SRAM page buffer and single-bit Error Code Correction. Other types of NAND Flash with integrated controller like eMMC or LBA NAND, are supported on either the SD/MMC interface or EBI.

Code Security
The Atmel Cortex SAM3U protects unauthorized code from accessing the core. A Memory Protection Unit (MPU) prohibits unauthorized external firmware from running in privileged mode, and can disable the debug and test ports. In addition, a unique ChipID on the Atmel Cortex SAM3U prevents unauthorized external programs from executing. The on-chip MPU also prevents running applications from accessing the memory space of other running applications.

Availability and Pricing
The Atmel Cortex M3 AT91SAM3U is available with 64k, 128k and 256k Bytes of Flash is available in 100 and 144 pin 0.5mm pitch QFP and 0.8 mm pitch BGA packages. Production volumes will be available in 4Q09, with prices starting at US$3.50 in quantities of 10k units.

About Atmel
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. with a very broad intellectual property (IP) technology portfolio, Atmel provides the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.


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New Atmel Cortex M3 runs 96MHz with 480Mbps USB

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Product data and specifications in this article are the responsibility of the manufacturer. No warrenty is expressed or implied as to the accuracy of manufacturer-supplied data. So there.
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