MCUs combine dual-core performance with feature integration

5th June 2019
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
MCUs combine dual-core performance with feature integration

According to the company, the new STM32H7 microcontrollers (MCU) from STMicroelectronics are the industry’s highest performing Arm Cortex-M general-purpose MCUs, combining dual-core punch with power-saving features and enhanced cyber protection. The new devices leverage a 480MHz version of the Cortex-M7, the highest performing member of Arm’s Cortex-M family, and add a 240MHz Cortex-M4 core.

With ST’s smart architecture, efficient L1 cache, and adaptive real time ART Accelerator, the MCUs set new speed records at 1327 DMIPS and 3224 CoreMark executing from embedded Flash. ST’s Chrom-ART Accelerator delivers an extra boost to graphics performance. To maximise energy efficiency, each core operates in its own power domain and can be turned off individually when not needed.

Developers can easily upgrade existing applications through flexible use of the two cores. They can add a sophisticated user interface to an application such as a motor drive formerly hosted on a single-core Cortex-M4 MCU by migrating legacy code to the STM32H7 Cortex-M4 with the new GUI running on the Cortex-M7. Another example is to boost application performance by offloading intensive workloads such as neural networks, checksums, DSP filtering, or audio codecs.

The dual-core architecture also helps simplify code development and accelerate time to market in projects where user-interface code may be developed separately from real time control or communication features.

STM32H7 MCUs come with pre-installed keys and native secure services including Secure Firmware Install (SFI). SFI lets customers order standard products anywhere in the world and have the encrypted firmware delivered to an external programming company without exposing unencrypted code. In addition, built-in support for Secure Boot and Secure Firmware Update (SB-SFU) protects Over the Air (OTA) feature upgrades and patches.

Compared to Flashless processors, STM32H7 MCUs deliver high performance with the extra advantage of up to 2MByte Flash and 1Mbyte SRAM on-chip to better handle space constraints and simplify the design of smart objects in industrial, consumer, and medical applications with rea time performance or AI-processing requirements. Moreover, the Cortex-M7 level 1 cache and parallel and serial memory interfaces offer unlimited and fast access to external memory.

Additional advanced features include Error Code Correction (ECC) for all Flash and RAM memory to increase safety, multiple advanced 16-bit Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs), external ambient-temperature range up to 125°C allowing use in severe environments, an Ethernet controller     and multiple FD-CAN controllers giving communication-gateway capabilities, and ST’s latest high resolution timer for generating precision waveforms.

ST has already extended the STM32Cube ecosystem by adding STM32CubeH7 firmware modules with application source code, including graphical solutions based on TouchGFX and STemWin graphical-stack library. There are also new Evaluation, Discovery, and Nucleo boards. Developers can leverage all the standard elements of the STM32Cube development environment, including the ST-MC-SUITE motor-control toolkit, STM32Cube.AI machine-learning toolkit, STM32CubeMX, STM32CubeProgrammer, and certified partner solutions for STM32.

STM32H7 dual-core microcontrollers are entering production and samples are available now. A broad selection of packages is offered, including WLCSP. Budgetary pricing starts at $8.19 for orders of 10,000 pieces The STM32H7 single-core microcontrollers including the Value line are also available at a budgetary pricing starting from $3.39 for orders of 10,000 pieces.


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