STMicro launches world’s most powerful Cortex processor-based MCUs

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - September 23, 2011

The company introduces its STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), extending the STM32 platform based on the latest ARM Cortex-M4 core

STMicroelectronics has introduced its STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), extending the STM32 platform based on the latest ARM Cortex-M4 core, which adds signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the STM32 MCU portfolio.

STM32 is the industry’s most successful family of 32-bit ARM Cortex-M processor-based MCUs, with nearly one of every two units shipped being a member of the STM32 family. Beyond addressing a range of applications with the existing STM32 portfolio including metering, medical services, point of sales (POS), building security and automation, home audio, and others, ST is further widening its target applications with the STM32 F4 series.

The single-cycle DSP instructions of the STM32 F4 open the doors to the digital signal controller (DSC) market that asks for high computational capability and DSP instructions for demanding applications like high-end motor control, medical equipment and security. By providing a simple, full pin-to-pin and software compatible upgrade from the STM32 F2 series with more SRAM, higher performance and a collection of peripherals, the F4 series enable cus designing with the STM32 F2 series MCUs to offer product extensions by upgrading to the F4 series if they need more memory, performance or features. Also, customers currently using a 2-chip MCU and DSP approach can now combine both chips in one high-performance DSC.
 
"The STM32 F4 series is attractive for so many more reasons than simply because it is the highest performing Cortex M processor-based MCU available on the market today. With more than 250 compatible devices already in production, the industry’s best development ecosystem, and outstanding power consumption and overall functionality, the F4 family is the cherry at the top of the STM32 family of Cortex-M processor-based MCUs, which now includes four product series: the STM32 F1 series, the STM32 F2 series and the STM32 L1 series, all based on the Cortex-M3 processor, and the new F4 Series, based on the Cortex-M4 processor,"  said Claude Dardanne, Executive Vice President and General Manager Microcontrollers, Memories and Secure MCUs Group.

“ST's decision to include the ARM Cortex-M4 processor into its broad MCU portfolio is a testimony
to the processor's low power consumption, advanced design and high-performance DSP capabilities. ST now has one of the broadest ARM Cortex-M series processor-based portfolios available. The Cortex-M series represents the fastest growing MCU architecture and the STM32 F4 MCU will undoubtedly further accelerate the adoption of the ARM architecture across MCU applications," Lance Howarth, EVP, Marketing, ARM.

Beyond offering pin-to-pin and software compatible with the high-performance F2 series, the F4 series operates at a higher frequency (168 MHz instead of 120 MHz), offers single-cycle DSP instruction support and a Floating Point Unit, larger SRAM (192 Kbytes vs. 128 Kbytes), embedded flash memory from 512 Kbytes up to 1 Mbyte, and advanced peripherals for imaging, connectivity and encryption.

The STM32 F4 series is available in four variants:
 
STM32F405x: in addition to a complete set of advanced peripherals including timers, three ADCs,
two DACs, serial interfaces, external memory interface, RTC, CRC calculation unit and analog true Random Number Generator, the STM32F405 products have a USB On-The-Go (OTG) full-speed/high-speed interface. They are available in four packages (WLCSP64, LQFP64, LQFP100, LQFP144) with 1 Mbyte of Flash.
 
STM32F407 products add several advanced peripherals to the ones offered on the STM32F405 products: a second USB OTG interface (full-speed only); an integrated Ethernet MAC 10/100 supporting both MII and RMII, with IEEE1588 Precise Time Protocol v2 Hardware support and an  8- to 14-bit parallel camera interface allowing the connection of a CMOS camera sensor,  supporting up to 67.2 Mbytes/s. Devices are available in four packages (LQFP100, LQFP144, LQFP/BGA176), with from 512 Kbytes to 1 Mbyte of Flash.
 
The STM32F415 and STM32F417 parts add a crypto/hash processor to the STM32F405 and STM32F407. This crypto/hash processor includes hardware acceleration for AES 128, 192, 256,
Triple DES, HASH (MD5, SHA-1). As an example of the performance achieved by the crypto/hash processor, the AES-256 encryption throughput reaches up to 149.33 Mbytes/s.
 
All variations are in volume production, with prices beginning from $5.74 for the STM32F407VET6
with 512 Kbytes of Flash and 192 Kbytes RAM in the LQFP100 package, for orders of more than 1,000 units.
 
 

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