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Date: 03-10-15

Fully scalable D32PRO CPU core compared to ARM Cortex M0-M3

Poland based Digital Core Design introduced its newest 32-bit CPU D32PRO. RISC architecture based D32PRO boosts performance up to 1.48/2.67 DMIPS/MHz and 2.41 CoreMarks/MHz. The minimal usable D32PRO CPU starts from 6.8k to 10.6k gates when optimized for area.

D32PRO consumes a dynamic power of 7 microwatts/MHz with a 90 nm process (DCD’s IP Cores are synthesizable and foundry independent). The D32PRO has been equipped with C compiler and integrated CPU configurator making this CPU a fully configurable, both for ultra-low energy and for power-user projects.

Fully scalable D32PRO can be easily adjusted to get the efficiency comparable to ARM Cortex M0-M3, explains Tomek Krzyzak, DCD’s vice-president – but there’s no problem to run the Core with maximal performance to get up to 1.48 / 2.67 DMIPS/MHz and 2.41 CoreMarks/MHz.

The D32PRO is designed from scratch by DCD’s engineers. The D32PRO has been equipped with Floating Point Coprocessor and a range of peripherals such as USB, Ethernet, I2C, SPI, UART, CAN, LIN, RTC, HDLC, Smart Card etc. Other peripherals can be effortlessly added to the CPU by using standardized interfaces.

Other features as explained by DCD:
The D32PRO is a universal & fully configurable solution, which effectively executes application codes with many jumps (e.g. switching decision tree) as well as homogeneous ones (e.g. arithmetic operations). This wouldn’t be possible without variable pipelining. Another innovation is brought in the command list, which is based on special instructions – derivatives to the higher level language like e.g. C. That approach enabled ultimate code density, which goes in hand with efficient and compact instructions set. Variable length instructions are based on 16 bits and can be executed conditionally. The D32PRO implements the best features of the embedded microcontrollers, where one of them enables efficient cooperation with the at-tached peripherals, thanks to dedicated bit instructions.

The D32PRO has been equipped with 13 general registers R0-R12 and most of them are being refreshed automatically after interruption. Thanks to it the CPU accelerates interrupts and context switching in real time systems. And if it’s still not enough, the D32PRO has been equipped with one non-maskable and dozens of real-time reconfigurable interrupts: like its activity, priority level and number of automatically stacked registers.

Low energy for (not only) IoT
The D32PRO emphasizes low energy consumption, which is crucial in modern electronics. This is achieved thanks to special PMU (Power Management Unit), which dynamically controls the clock’s frequency. Thanks to it an engineer can program energy-saving mode for the CPU, where all the peripherals will be working with nominal clock. Moreover, the CPU itself can be moved to STOP mode with the clock detached from it. Then it can return to normal mode by an interrupt from any peripheral. In order to save additional power, the CPU can easily switch off the peripherals which are unused at the current moment.

Debugger – Bootloader
The D32PRO, similarly to DCD’s 8051 IP Cores, is delivered with a built-in hardware debugger. But this special solution has been tailored for 32-bit CPU, that’s why it enables full control from Eclipse level (complete Eclipse debugging system with GCC => USB 2.0 cable => D32PRO). Moreover, in DCD’s debugger only two pins have been used as optimal tradeoff between communication throughput and consumed resources, when in competitive solutions communication needs at least 5 pins (JTAG). Hardware bootloader unit enables firmware memory updates directly from external low cost Flash memory connected through the (Q)SPI interface. Moreover, the bootloader is equipped with hardware encryption mechanism which significantly protects firmware against reverse engineering.
More information at www.dcd.pl

Technical information:
D32PRO, deeply embedded, royalties-free 32bit CPU
CoreMarks/MHz CoreMarks: 2.41
Dhrystone 1.48 / 2.67 DMIPS/MHz
Power consumption (90nm) under7µW/MHz (90LP)
Size (90nm) Starting from 6.8k to 10.6kgates

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