IoT a target for power-efficient processors

19th September 2016
Mick Elliott

The i.MX 7 series processors from NXP Semiconductors is now available at Mouser Electronics. This new generation of power-efficient and feature-rich applications processor is based on NXP’s i.MX platform. The processors incorporate both the ARM Cortex-A7 and the ARM Cortex-M4 cores. These technologies, together with the companion NXP PF3000 PMIC unleash the potential for innovative, secure and power-efficient end-products for wearable computing and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The first members of the processor series are the i.MX 7Solo and i.MX 7Dual product families. The i.MX 7Solo family devices feature a single Cortex-A7 core that operates at up to 800MHz and a Cortex-M4 core, and the i.MX 7Dual family devices combine the Cortex-M4 processor with two Cortex-A7 cores running up to 1GHz. The Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 achieve processor core efficiency levels of 100μW/MHz and 70μW/MHz respectively.

All of the cores can be individually power-enabled to perform as needed, allowing the i.MX 7 series to meet the high-performance needs of running Linux, graphical user interfaces, wireless stacks or other high-bandwidth data transfers with one or both of the Cortex-A7 cores. The Cortex-M4 is able to perform real time tasks and act as a low power co-processor.

Through the use of an advanced 28nm ultra low leakage process technology and discrete power domain architecture, the Low Power State Retention (LPSR) mode consumes only 250 μW while supporting double data rate (DDR) self-refresh mode, general-purpose input/output (GPIO) wakeup, and memory state retention.

High-bandwidth connections are provided through a variety of interfaces such as PCIe and Gigabit Ethernet with AVB support.

Both of the i.MX 7 families support the performance and power driven range of external memories including eMMC5.0 and Low Power-DDR3 at up to 1066 MHz, meeting higher bandwidth applications.

Mouser is also stocking the NXP i.MX 7 Dual Smart Application for Blueprint Engineering (SABRE) development board, which enables HDMI, LCD, and electronic paper display (EPD) technology. The board comes with an onboard Wi-Fi/Bluetooth solution and the ability to easily expand the radio functionality through the mini PCIe expansion slot.

Additionally, the SABRE board facilitates software development with the ultimate goal of faster time-to-market through the support of Linux OS, Android and FreeRTOS operating systems.

NXP’s i.MX 7 series processors are ideal for a host of applications including wearables, secure point-of-sale equipment, smart home controls, industrial products, and a vast array of innovative IoT solutions.



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