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New Atmel SAMD20 Cortex-M0+ Microcontrollers

By Bill Giovino
Jun 17, 2013 - 8:00:00 AM

One of those things for the internet of things.
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Atmel has entered the ARM Cortex-M0+ market with the new Atmel SAM D20 microcontroller product family.

Atmel has a highly successful 8-bit microcontroller with the AVR family, and an extensive selection of 32-bit microcontrollers. However, with no 16-bit family this leaves a hole in Atmel's performance roadmap. The SAMD20 fills that hole, nicely overlapping the 8-bit and 32-bit performance segments.

Atmel SAMD20 Overview
Atmel SAMD20 Overview
Atmel has built the SAM D20 to mainly target the "Internet of Things". Low power internal subnets are using ZigBee and WiFi and it's awkward for an 8-bit to support the software stacks for those protocols. Meanwhile, a full 32-bit has wasted performance and a higher current draw. The low-end 32-bit Cortex-M0+ fits these requirements nicely.

The Atmel SAM D20 boasts flexible peripherals, an event system and a touch controller.

Atmel SAMD20 Performance
At 2.7-3.3V supply voltage, the Flash memory requires zero wait states up to 33MHz, and one wait state from 33 to 48MHz.
At less than 2.7V supply voltage the Flash memory runs at zero wait states up to 16MHz, one wait state from 16 to 33MHz, and two wait states above 33MHz.

The Atmel SAM D20 Cortex-M0+ uses a proprietary caching system to improve system performance, allowing the SAMD20 to achieve 2.14 Coremark/MHz. According to Atmel this is makes the SAMD20 the highest performing Cortex-M0+ to date.

Low power run current is 90uA/MHz while executing the ever-popular WHILE 1 instruction. A more realistic current draw figure is the 130uA/MHz Coremark performance. RAM retention is a mere 2.5uA.

Atmel SAM D20 Key Features

  • 48MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ 32-bit Core
  • Up to 256KB Flash
  • Up to 32KB RAM
  • On-chip clock controller
  • RTC
  • Watchdog (bark bark)
  • Up to eight 16-bit timer/counters
  • Peripheral Event System allows intelligent interaction of peripherals
  • Up to six Serial Communication Module (SERCOM module) USART, UART, SPI and I2C
  • Capacitive Touch HW engine
  • 20-channel 12-bit 350ksps ADC with gain stage
  • 10-bit 350ksps DAC
  • Two analog comparators
  • 32-, 48- and 64-pin package options

Atmel SAMD20 Block Diagram
Atmel SAMD20 Block Diagram
The I/O are not 5V tolerant.

Pin multiplexing allows for extra pin flexibility for peripherals. In addition, packages can be laid out inside of each other on a printed circuit board.

Quote from an Important Person
"Atmel's global leadership in MCUs and its partnership with ARM has enabled the company to launch its Cortex-M0+ ARM-based family," remarked Reza Kazerounian, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Atmel Microcontroller Business Unit. "In this era of the Internet of Things, MCUs, such as the SAM D20, are at the heart of every smart, connected device. Our SAM D20 family adds to our broad MCU portfolio, ranging from our industry-leading 8-bit AVR MCUs to our high-end Cortex-A5 MPUs. All our MCUs include unique peripheral sets, ultra-low power consumption, a complete integrated development platform, and easy-to-use development kits so designers can bring their products quickly to market."

Development Tools
The SAM D20 Xplained PRO evaluation kits are available for USD $39. The kit is USB powered and features a 64-pin, 256KB SAM D20 device along with a programmer/debugger and evaluation hardware.

The new SAM D20 series is also supported by the latest version of Atmel Studio and Atmel Software Framework, the integrated development platform for developing and debugging Atmel ARM Cortex-M and Atmel AVR® MCU- based applications. A beautiful cycle-accurate chip and peripheral simulator is included.

Pricing and Availability
Atmel is working with alpha customers that will go into volume production shortly. Samples of 128KB 32-pin, and 256KB 48-and 64 pin products are available in QFN and QFP packages now. Pricing starts at $1.02 USD for 1K units of the 16KB 32 pin QFN-package.

About Atmel
"Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on industrial, consumer, communications, computing and automotive markets."

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New Atmel SAMD20 Cortex-M0+ Microcontrollers

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