The 'industry’s lowest' power 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F MCUs

25th March 2015
Siobhan O'Gorman

The industry’s lowest power 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F MCUs have been released by Texas Instruments. The 48MHz MSP432 MCU family consume only 95µA/MHz in active power and 850nA in standby power. A high-speed 14-bit 1MSPS ADC, further optimises power efficiency and performance.

The devices enable designers to develop ultra-low-power embedded applications such as industrial and building automation, industrial sensing, industrial security panels, asset tracking and consumer electronics.

The MSP432 MCUs are the latest advancement in TI’s ultra-low-power innovation, delivering a ULPBench score of 167.4, outperforming all other Cortex-M3 and -M4F MCUs on the market. This ultra-low power benchmark from the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium provides a standard way to compare power performance on any MCU, independent of architecture. The integrated DC/DC optimises power efficiency at high-speed operation, while an integrated LDO reduces overall system cost and design complexity. In addition, a 14-bit ADC consumes 375µA at 1MSPS. The MCUs include a unique selectable RAM retention feature that provides dedicated power to each of the eight RAM banks needed for an operation, so overall system power can be reduced by 30nA per bank. The devices can also operate as low as 1.62V and as high as 3.7V with full-speed operation to lower overall system power. As the flagship product in TI’s growing 32-bit ultra-low-power MSP MCU portfolio, developers can expect the MSP432 MCU roadmap to include increasing levels of analogue, integration and up to 2MB flash memory, while extending MSP430 ultra-low-power leadership.

The MSP432 MCUs pack more performance into devices without compromising power budgets. The integrated DSP engine and FPU of the ARM Cortex-M4F core enable a multitude of high performance applications, such as signal conditioning and sensor processing, while maintaining performance headroom for product differentiation. The MCUs include up to 256KB flash and boost performance with dual-bank flash memory that enables simultaneous read and write functionality. An AES 256 hardware encryption accelerator enables developers to secure their device and data, while IP protection features on MSP432 MCUs ensure data and code security. These features result in higher throughput, more integration of advanced algorithms, wired or wireless IoT stacks and higher resolution display images, all while operating within an existing power budget.

Start evaluating MSP432 MCUs immediately with a target board (MSP-TS432PZ100) or a low-cost LaunchPad rapid prototyping kit (MSP-EXP432P401R) with on-board emulation. Developers can expand their MSP432 LaunchPad kit evaluation with a full suite of stackable BoosterPacks, including the low-power SimpleLink WiFi CC3100 BoosterPack. In addition, TI's Cloud Development Ecosystem helps developers get started faster by allowing them to access their products, documentation, software and even IDE all from the convenience of the web. The MSP432 MCUs support multiple RTOS options, including TI-RTOS, FreeRTOS and Micrium µC/OS.

The MSP432P401RIPZ MCU is available for immediate sampling. Upcoming devices will be available with a wide variety of features, packages sizes and up to 256KB flash. The devices will be priced from $2.15 and sold in 1,000-unit quantities. Developers can start designing with MSP432 MCUs using the MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad kit for $12.99 or the MSP-TS432PZ100 target board for $89.

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