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Date: 02-03-10

STM32 MCUs from ST Microelectronics can now access flash memory with zero wait

Generally flash memory even the NOR flash is slow in feeding the data to CPU, forcing the interfacing microcontroller to insert few wait state while accessing the content from flash memory.

But now ST Microelectronics has come out with a technology called Adaptive Real-Time (ART) accelerator enabling zero-wait program execution up to the clock speed of 120MHz. ST now has embedded this technology in its STM32 family of MCUs, which have embedded Flash manufactured at 90nm process technology.

ST says the proprietary ART memory accelerator balances the inherent performance advantage of the ARM Cortex-M3 over Flash memory technologies, which normally requires the processor to wait for the Flash at higher operating frequencies. The CPU can now operate up to 120MHz without waiting, thereby increasing overall system speed and efficiency. To release the processor's full 150 DMIPS performance at this frequency the accelerator implements an instruction pre-fetch queue and branch cache, enabling program execution from Flash at up to 120MHz with no wait states.

ST claims competing Cortex-M3 MCUs can now only outperform the STM32 by operating at frequencies above 120MHz, which will increase power consumption and heat dissipation. ST also claims CoreMark tests created by the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium has verified that STM32 executes 8% faster than Cortex-M competitors at 100MHz clock speed.

With this new feature, designer can implement features such as audio codec, video processing functions, data encryption, digital filtering, and a multi-protocol gateway, with sufficient remaining resources to manage other tasks.

Availability: Now in samples

For more visit www.st.com


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