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32 bit processor core for powering MCUs in embedded takes <10 K gates

Date: 04/06/2013
Beyond Semiconductor and IP provider CAST have designed low power 32-bit BA21 embedded processor achieving 2.5 CoreMarks, operating up to 125 MHz, and need below 10K logic gates (with a 65nm process). Its two-stage pipelined design offers an opportunity to move from 8-bit MCU to 32-bit in embedded systems applications such as wireless communications or mixed-signal control.

“The world’s rush towards big data accessed anywhere requires devices that can capture, process, and analyze information within severe power budgets, and this can only be achieved through highly efficient hardware designs,” said Matjaž Breskvar, chief executive officer of Beyond Semiconductor. “To address such needs, this new BA21 core applies unmatched design efficiency to the most area- and power-sensitive end of the processor spectrum, doing more work in less silicon and using less energy than any comparable 8-, 16-, or 32-bit processor. It’s the perfect fit for the next generation of intelligent sensors, deeply embedded devices, or as a helper in complex SoCs.”

Cast says "Energy consumption levels for a BA21-based system can be as low or lower than those possible with any competing processor thanks to the small silicon footprint, extreme code density, and lower memory demand of the BA2 instruction set architecture (ISA). Effective power management functions such as clock gating of unused units and hardware or software controller dynamic frequency scaling further reduce energy usage. Options for expanded capabilities include floating point functions, hardware multiplication/divide, vectored interrupt control for fast response, and a memory protection unit."

“The royalty-free BA2x family has a growing reputation for offering a smart, technically-competitive IP choice in a processor market dominated by a single provider,” said Nikos Zervas, vice president for marketing of CAST. “CAST has long been a leader in 8051 applications and for last few years our customers have been asking for greater capabilities for more advanced designs. The BA21 is the perfect answer to that request: it offers great appeal to designers seeking to differentiate their products through better performance, lower energy usage, quick development, and a lower price point.”

With a customizable set of peripherals and functions BA21 support the BA2 instruction set architecture. Product packages include the Eclipse- and GNU-based BeyondStudio tool set to facilitate software development. A complete BA21 system board is available for easy evaluation or as a quick software development platform.