Navigation bar
  Start Previous page  13 of 15  Next page End Home  3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15  

Copyright Ó 2001 All Rights Reserved.
March 2001
Contact for reprint and copy permission
Development tools issues aside, most DSPs have built-in features that microcontroller
engineers have wanted for years:
Zero-overhead loops
Automatic buffer management
Bit reversing hardware
Hardware multiply
From a positioning standpoint, that is, looking from the perspective of a microcontroller
engineer, the best way to view a DSP is as an extension of microcontroller migration;
that is, move to a DSP from a microcontroller because more processing power is
needed and the hardware features make for a more efficient system implementation.
The reason as to why such efforts are made to convince microcontroller engineers to
program DSPs is simple: there are overwhelmingly more microcontroller engineers than
DSP engineers.
A design engineer selecting a microcontroller for a real-time control application can
select a micro that fits the system needs and also has a high-quality development
environment available. Assemblers, compilers, debuggers, in-circuit emulators - a
microcontroller can be found at every price/performance point with world-class
development tools. As stated before, and this cannot be over emphasized, To the
software engineer, the microcontroller or DSP is not just a square piece of plastic
- it exists in engineering reality in the user interface of the computer screen and
keyboard that hosts the hardware and software development tools. This is crucial
in reaching a software engineer's heart. The history of processors is filled with cores
that had outstanding technical merits but were obsoleted because of poor quality
development tools and/or a lack of planning in putting together a suite of tools, which
prevented the device from ever gaining or maintaining any serious market acceptance.
Up until now the discussion has centered on the deeply embedded applications that use
8- and 16-bit processors. Even taking into account the new growing markets, the a wide
variety of applications are available for dual-functionality systems, as well as the vast
majority of the embedded marketplace, in terms of dollars and volume.
Recently, a new breed of high-powered processor has been developed. Based on 32-bit
microcontroller programming models, these new processors have all the control
features and the rich peripheral set of a microcontroller with many of the hard signal
processing architectural enhancements of a DSP. This cross-breed of the two White Papers Previous page Top Next page