Atmel Cortex-M4 MCUs consume 66% less power

Date
09/24/2012

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Click image to enlarge: Atmel SAM4L

Atmel set new low-power and efficiency standards for ARM Cortex-M4-based MCUs with the launch of its new SAM4L family of devices, based on industry-recognized benchmarks. Incorporating proprietary ultra-low power picoPower technology the company uses in the hundreds of millions of Atmel AVR MCUs in the market today, the SAM4L family consumes just one-third the power of competing devices. The Atmel SAM4L family provides ultra-low power consumption with fast wake-up times and high total application performance in all operating modes. The SAM4L family draws as little as 90 μA/MHz in active mode. The new devices achieve up to 28 CoreMark/mA using IAR Embedded Workbench, version 6.40. In sleep mode, the SAM4L devices consume 1.5 μA with full RAM retention, and 700 nA in back-up mode. With wake-up times down to 1.5 μs from even the deepest sleep modes, the SAM4L family is well suited for battery-powered consumer, industrial, and portable-healthcare products. The devices take advantage of the numerous Atmel power-saving innovations, including SleepWalking, Peripheral Event System, fast wake-up times, and intelligent peripherals. The Peripheral Event System is a real-time network that allows peripherals to communicate directly with one another without using the CPU. In addition, SleepWalking allows a peripheral to qualify and evaluate incoming data without the use of the CPU, eliminating unneeded, power-consuming CPU wake-ups to conserve power. This allows the peripherals to qualify an event and decide to wake-up whether it is from capacitive touch, I2C address match, or an ADC threshold. The SAM4L devices feature peripherals designed to reduce the overall power consumption such as the innovative LCD controller that includes ASCII character mapping, hardware scrolling and blinking support. "We are excited to integrate our proven AVR picoPower technology into the new SAM4L family of Cortex M4-based devices," said Alf-Egil Bogen & Vegard Wollan, co-inventors of the AVR architecture. "By incorporating some of the the best technologies of the AVR platform into our new Cortex-M4 MCU portfolio of products, we're delivering unprecedented low power to the ARM community and a new level of compatibility and familiarity between our two popular microcontroller families." "From small battery-operated devices to big data-centric automated systems, power efficiency is a key element for design success that often hinges on an energy-efficient microcontroller choice such as the Atmel SAM4L MCU. Energy efficiency can no longer be just lowest applications power or even sleep power, the successful MCU for energy-efficient design must innovate less wake time and more efficient applications processing to get to lower power states faster for the greatest overall energy efficiency," said Tom Hackenberg, principal analyst for MCUs and DSPs, at IHS. The SAM4L family has two series available, the LS series and the full-featured LC series. There are 48-, 64- and 100-pin package options available in both QFP and QFN. Atmel's SAM4L-EK evaluation kit includes an embedded debugger, power measurement, LCD, USB, and capacitive touch. In addition, the SAM4L-EK measures the current consumed by the MCU through independent circuitry, and displays this in real time. The SAM4L-EK is supported by the Atmel Studio 6 IDE (integrated development environment), which features project examples, debugging support, and other resources. Atmel SAM4L product deeplink.

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