Microchip expands embedded processing with new PIC64 portfolio

9th July 2024
Paige West

Microchip Technology has unveiled its PIC64 portfolio, addressing the escalating demands of real-time, compute-intensive applications such as smart embedded vision and machine learning (ML).

This expansion aims to enhance power efficiency, hardware-level security, and reliability at the Edge. With the PIC64 family, Microchip positions itself as a single-vendor solution provider for microprocessor units (MPUs), targeting a wide array of markets requiring both real-time and application-class processing.

The debut of the PIC64GX MPUs marks the initial release in this new product line, tailored for intelligent Edge designs across various sectors, including industrial, automotive, communications, IoT, aerospace, and defence. These MPUs cater to the intelligent Edge's need for 64-bit heterogeneous compute solutions, featuring asymmetric processing capabilities to support Linux, real-time operating systems, and bare-metal applications within a secure boot-enabled processor cluster.

“Microchip is a leader in 8- 16- and 32-bit embedded solutions and, as the market evolves, so must our product lines. The addition of our 64-bit MPU portfolio allows us to offer low-, mid- and high-range compute processing solutions,” said Ganesh Moorthy, CEO and President of Microchip Technology. “The PIC64GX MPU is the first of several 64-bit MPUs designed to support the intelligent edge and address a broad range of performance requirements across all market segments.”

At the heart of the PIC64GX family is a 64-bit RISC-V quad-core processor, equipped with Asymmetric Multiprocessing (AMP) and designed for mixed-criticality systems. This processor integrates a quad-core, Linux-capable CPU cluster, a fifth microcontroller-class monitor, and a 2MB flexible L2 cache operating at 625MHz. It stands out as the first RISC-V multi-core solution with AMP capabilities, addressing mid-range intelligent edge compute requirements with deterministic latencies.

The PIC64GX family offers pin compatibility with Microchip’s PolarFire SoC FPGA devices, providing developers with substantial flexibility in creating embedded solutions. Additionally, this 64-bit portfolio benefits from Microchip’s extensive ecosystem of tools and software, designed to streamline the configuration, development, debugging, and qualification of embedded designs.

Microchip is also introducing the PIC64 High-Performance Spaceflight Computing (PIC64-HPSC) family, a space-grade, 64-bit multi-core RISC-V MPU. This family promises to boost compute performance by over 100 times, delivering quality radiation and fault tolerance for aerospace and defence applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL) selected Microchip in August 2022 to develop an HPSC processor, marking a significant milestone in autonomous space computing for NASA-JPL and the wider aerospace and defence industry.

The launch of the PIC64 portfolio positions Microchip as the sole embedded solutions provider developing a comprehensive range of 8-, 16-, 32-, and 64-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) and MPUs. Future expansions of the PIC64 family will feature devices based on RISC-V or Arm architectures. Embedded designers can leverage Microchip’s end-to-end solutions, encompassing silicon and embedded ecosystems, to expedite design, debugging, and verification processes, thereby reducing time to market.

Development tools

The PIC64GX family is supported by the PIC64GX Curiosity Evaluation Kit and integrates with Microchip’s MPLAB Extensions for VS Code. Additionally, the PIC64 MPUs are compatible with Linux4Microchip resources and various Linux distributions, including Canonical Ubuntu OS, the Yocto Project, and Buildroot, along with support for Zephyr RTOS and associated software stacks.

Pricing and availability

The PIC64GX Curiosity Kit is now available for designers. For additional information and to make a purchase, contact a Microchip sales representative, authorised worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Purchasing and Client Services website.

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