40nm ultra-low power process for energy saving apps

28th March 2022
Beatrice O'Flaherty

GigaDevice, a semiconductor device supplier in the industry, officially launched the latest member of its Arm Cortex-M23 core MCU portfolio, the GD32L233 series of mainstream low-power microcontrollers.

The GD32L233 series of MCUs provide excellent power consumption efficiency and optimised processing performance with multiple operating and sleep modes. Compared with similar low-power MCU products in the industry, it has richer peripheral resources and application flexibility, which paves the way for continuous optimisation of system-level power consumption

The new series can be widely used in typical markets ranging from industrial meters, small consumer electronic devices, portable medical equipment, battery management systems, data acquisition, and transmission. The GD32L233 series of MCUs are available in 10 part numbers supporting package options of QFN32, LQFP32, LQFP48, and LQFP64. Samples and development boards are now available and will be officially mass-produced and supplied in November.

Brand New Chip Design and Manufacturing Process enables customers to build Advanced Low-Power Products

The concept of low power consumption runs through the entire chip design process at multiple levels, such as the evolution of manufacturing processes, the development of design concepts, and the innovation of chip architecture. The new GD32L233 low-power series of MCU products can effectively optimise the system power consumption:

■ Manufactured on an ultra-low power process. The GD32L233 series of MCUs adopts the industry-leading 40nm ultra-low power (ULP) manufacturing technology with low-leakage currents, thus reducing power consumption at the hardware level.

■ Specially optimised low-power analog IP. Energy-saving products are often in a static standby mode which can be awakened at any time to determine which part of the chip's analog circuits and peripherals are in an active state. The GD32L233 series of MCUs integrate specially optimised low-power analog IP to reduce power consumption effectively.

■ Adopt low-power digital design methodology. The new chip follows a variety of low-power digital design concepts, including multi-voltage domain design. In various working modes, the chip can control the power on and off states of the resources to avoid unnecessary energy loss, thereby further enhancing the low power efficiency.

Fully Optimised Power Efficiency to Extend the Lifetime of Low-power Applications

The GD32L233 series MCU supports a system frequency of up to 64MHz, 64KB to 256KB embedded eFlash, 16KB to 32KB SRAM, and various enhanced I/O and peripheral resources connected to two APB buses. The series continues to use the industry-leading Arm Cortex-M23 core and brings high-efficiency processing capabilities through the reduced yet powerful Armv8-M instruction set. The fully optimised bus design, which supports independent multipliers and dividers, helps further embedded applications for low power consumption and high-efficiency energy saving.

The GD32L233 series of MCUs achieve excellent power consumption efficiency. The deep-sleep current is reduced to 2µA, with the wake-up time achieving less than 10µs. And the standby current is as low as 0.4µA. Various system clocks can trigger the deep sleep mode, and peripheral interfaces support multiple wake-up sources, including a Low-power Timer, Low-power UART, RTC, LCD, standard I2C, USART, etc. The MCU operates from 1.7V to 3.6V and supports a battery (Vbat) power supply. The newly designed power management unit provides up to six low-power modes, including partial sleep, deep sleep, external wake-up, etc. Under the maximum frequency and full-speed active mode, the power consumption is only 66µA/MHz, which proves excellent energy efficiency. Flexible power supply modes can achieve lower average power consumption and extend battery life.

More Innovative Solutions Provided by Rich Peripheral Interfaces

The new MCU is equipped with a wealth of peripheral interfaces to enhance connectivity, and the GPIO multiplexing rate is as high as 93%. Compared with equivalent low-power MCUs in the market, the GD32L233 series has more available I/O resources in the same package. Excluding the power supply, the remaining I/O interfaces can be used to configure more functions which significantly enhances usage flexibility.

The GD32L233 series of MCUs provides up to four general-purpose 16-bit timers, two basic timers, and one 32-bit low-power timer. Standard and advanced communication interfaces: up to two USARTs, two UARTs, a Low-power LPUART, three I2Cs, two SPIs, an I2S, and a USB 2.0 FS controller are also supported. Furthermore, the 32-bit Low-power Timer and Low-power UART can run in partial Deep-Sleep mode and wake up the MCU. In terms of analog peripherals, it integrates an ADC with a 12-bit sampling rate of up to 1MSPS, a 12-bit DAC, and two comparators.

The GD32L233 MCU introduces a new multi-channel DMA selector module (DMAMUX), which increases routing flexibility between peripherals and DMA. Through self-configuration, DMA functionality can be provided for almost all peripherals. The MCU integrates a full-featured calendar RTC, programmable voltage detector (PVD), and a programmable brown-out reset (BOR), which can monitor battery power and voltage abnormalities then wake up the MCU. It also supports an LCD segment controller, which provides 8*28 segments and 4*32 segments in two formats. It also integrates a high-precision temperature sensor with an accuracy of ±0.5°C, which is especially suitable for developing portable personal health monitoring equipment such as oximeters, blood pressure meters, and environmental monitoring sensors.

Mr. Eric Jin, Product Marketing Director of GigaDevice, said: “The new GD32L233 series of mainstream microcontrollers provide more development options for energy efficiency-sensitive industry customers. The booming market demand is the driving force behind the continuous development of the GD32 MCU family. We continue to enhance performance, power consumption, and cost advantages and extend our low-power design concepts to power management, signal chain, and multi-protocol wireless connectivity chips. Smart application devices that have demanding power consumption requirements will benefit from the GD32L series of MCUs.”

The development boards based on GD32L233 have been launched simultaneously, including the GD32L233R-EVAL full-featured evaluation board, the GD32L233C-START, and GD32L233K-START entry-level learning boards. These correspond to different package types to support simpler application development and debugging. For further information, please contact your local GigaDevice Sales Office or authorized representatives. Deliverables, including documentation and software support tools, can be found at www.GD32MCU.com.

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