Atmel Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) recently announced the AVR XMEGA microcontrollers family. With second generation of picoPower technology, XMEGA is the only family of Flash microcontrollers with true 1.6V operation. The ultra low power consumption is combined with fast 12-bit analog functions, a DMA controller, an innovative Event System and a crypto engine. All features free CPU resources which minimize power consumption and increase system performance. The first devices, ATxmega128A1 and ATxmega64A1 are both offered in 100-pin TQFP and BGA packages and are available now. Volume prices for 10k units are US$3.75 and US$3.50, respectively. Other XMEGA devices will be available during 2Q or 3Q of 2008.
The XMEGA microcontrollers range from 16 to 384 KB of Flash and 44- to 100-pin packages. They operate from 1.6V to 3.6V and achieve up to 32 MIPS at 32 MHz. The XMEGA devices are general purpose microcontrollers well suited for a variety of applications including audio systems, ZigBee, power tools, medical, board controllers, networking, metering, optical transceivers, motor control, white goods and any battery powered product.
XMEGA Microcontroller Features
- Ultra Low Power
Atmel’s picoPower technology already used in megaAVR® products, is recognized as market leader in low power. With AVR XMEGA, using second generation picoPower, battery life is further increased by additional features like true 1.6V operation and a combined Watchdog Timer- and Brown-Out-Detector current consumption of only 1 uA. True 1.6V operation means all functions including Flash reprogramming, EEPROM write, analog conversions and internal oscillators are operative. In battery powered applications like mobile phones, XMEGA devices can be connected to a 1.8V (+/- 10%) regulated power supply to save cost and increase battery life. AVR XMEGA delivers industry leading power consumption numbers. In Power Down mode with RAM retention, current consumption is 100 nA. A Real-Time Clock function using a 32 kHz crystal oscillator has a power consumption of only 650 nA.
- Modern CPU Built for Scalability
The 8/16-bit AVR CPU is designed for high-level languages like C. It has 16- and 32-bit arithmetic support and 16- and 24-bit memory pointers. Single cycle operation and 32 working registers connected to the Arithmetic Logic Unit makes AVR more efficient than other CPUs. Based on the solid AVR CPU platform, Atmel now offers one of the largest families of code compatible devices ranging from 1 KB 8-pin tinyAVR® to 384 KB 100-pin XMEGA. By standardizing on AVR MCUs, customers save investments and shorten time-to-market by reusing development tools, software and hardware design.
- Innovative Event System
Like a reflex in the human body, the innovative XMEGA Event System enables inter-peripheral communication without CPU or DMA usage. This ensures 100% predictable and short response time. Up to 8 simultaneous events or interrupt conditions in the peripherals can automatically start actions in other peripherals. The Event System removes bottlenecks associated with multiple and/or frequently triggering interrupts. There is no software overhead and critical tasks are handled with a guaranteed latency shorter than any interrupt response time.
- Leading Analog Performance
The XMEGA Analog-to-Digital Converter has 12-bit resolution and provides up to 2 million samples per second with hardware support for oversampling to increase resolution to 16 bits without extra cost. Programmable gain stage, differential inputs, temperature sensor, and accurate internal voltage references removes external components and saves cost. AVR XMEGA also includes 12-bit Digital-to-Analog Converters and advanced Analog Comparators.
- Fast Crypto Engine
XMEGA has a hardware crypto engine that supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Data Encryption Standard (DES). The crypto engine increases encrypted communication speed from 10 kbps to 2 Mbps compared to software solutions. AVR XMEGA is the only solution for high bandwidth encrypted data communication in long life battery powered applications, like toll road tags, wireless sensor nodes and ZigBee.
- Development Tools
AVR XMEGA is supported by the easy-to-use tool chain already existing for AVR devices. The AVR Studio® integrated development environment is available free of charge on Atmel’s web site. The STK®600 Starter Kit and JTAGICE mkII on-chip debugger supports every microcontroller in Atmel’s AVR and AVR32 UC3 product families.