Future of XMEGA

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With the impending takeover and no recent news, does anyone have any insight into the future of the XMEGA range? New models, long term development?

Personally I'd love to see a USB enabled E5.

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The Xmega is an excellent chip.   It may not have caught on with the hobbyist market.

 

I would guess that the production cost is purely dependent on the size of the die.    In other words,   if a complex Xmega or ARM can fit in the same area of Silicon Real Estate as a simple AVR,   you have the same cost.

 

Of course the profitability depends on how much you can sell the chips for.   The new owners will make their own decisions.

 

David.

Last Edited: Sun. Jan 24, 2016 - 08:08 PM
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mojo-chan wrote:
New models, ...
The October 2015 product selection guide had a "New Product" column that was empty for XMEGA.  indecision

The December 2015 product selection guide does not have a new product column.

http://www.atmel.com/images/atmel-45154-product-selection-guide_brochure.pdf (page 5)

mojo-chan wrote:
Personally I'd love to see a USB enabled E5.
E5 :

  • Secure and freedom (no NDA) and open bootloader (easier on E5 due to no USB).  Don't need much ROM for a first level bootloader; subsequent levels are RTOS and/or application-specific in flash (CryptoAuthLib).
  • Continue ADC improvement(s); 16-bit delta-sigma?
  • Increase XCL capability to approach a small cPLD.  Pin bound so might be for another XMEGA.
  • Low power, and low speed, DAC.  At least one channel; prefer 2 to 4 channels.  For a battery charger, servos, and such.  Save the high speed DAC for motors, transducers, etc.

All :

  • More XMEGA into CryptoAuthLib.
  • Re-implement UC3 FlashVault into XMEGA.
  • (PUSH!) Sub-threshold FETs for core functions (ALU, registers, I and D paths).  The follow-on to PicoPower.  An open field run on the 8-bit side; Ambiq has the 32-bit side covered.
  • MRAM - team with Everspin Technologies.  Though might consume too much current.  Automotive, avionics, and NEO space uses.

Everspin Technologies

Everspin Embedded MRAM

http://www.everspin.com/everspin-embedded-mram

Edit : MRAM URL.

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Sun. Jan 24, 2016 - 08:59 PM
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Hey mojo, if they drop the E5 range then we will need to start a law suit. I would have wasted around AU$100,00.00 + on a product which has been in development for the past 3 years and almost getting all the relevant approvals to go on the market.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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js wrote:
... AU$100,00.00 ...
There's a reason engineers are not bean counters wink (no offense to accountants; very glad they're the ones to do that)

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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js wrote:

Hey mojo, if they drop the E5 range then we will need to start a law suit. I would have wasted around AU$100,00.00 + on a product which has been in development for the past 3 years and almost getting all the relevant approvals to go on the market.

I really doubt they would drop a finished die, unless 

a) the volumes were very small, or yields were terrible. (Disti stock levels suggest this has good design wins)

or

b) there were some FAB line issues  ( that one seems unlikely on a new part )

 

What can happen with mature parts, is the order codes can rationalize.

In an E5 series that would mean the 16k version may go, leaving the 8k (cheapest) & 32k (largest).

 

The price of mature devices also seldom decrease, so over time they become less of a 'go to' choice.

 

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I doubt they would drop the E5, or even some of the flash memory sizes. Even if the yields don't supply a lot of 16k or 8k parts through binning they will just cripple some to make up the numbers for people who need them. Also, if anything Microchip are well known for never discontinuing anything (I think there have been about 3-4 PICs discontinued over the years) so it seems unlikely they should start pushing Atmel to do that.

 

I'm just hoping we see continued development.

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mojo-chan wrote:
I'm just hoping we see continued development.

Personally I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

 

Shame Atmel's published figures don't show the split of revenue between the processor families. All the processors together created a revenue of around $1bn in both 2013 and 2014 but we don't know how that splits across brain-dead/tiny/8051/mega/xmega/UC3/SAM. I would guess that Xmega was not a large contributor but I guess it only takes Apple or Sony to have used one in a 100 million selling product to bump the numbers? ;-)

 

As others have said they probably won't EOL existing designs as long as they have the masks and they can see SOME demand but whether they pour revenue into on-going design is another matter. Remember that now they won't just be weighed against: brain-dead/tiny/8051/mega/xmega/UC3/SAM but also PIC16/PIC18/dsPIC/PIC32 etc etc.

 

(one attractive thing PICs have are USB devices in DIP packages - easy for hobbyists armed with nothing more than a breadboard! I actually looked at using one to make a very cheap AVR ISP programmer (ironic eh?) just before the USBAsp caught hold in a big way!)

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I don't think any of the PIC range are as nice to work with as XMEGA. MPLABX is pretty awful too.

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mojo-chan wrote:
are as nice to work with as XMEGA

If you program in C how can you tell? Then it just becomes a question of the peripherals available and (possibly) how easy to use the manufacturer supplied support code is. Personally I've looked at support from Atmel (ASF) and the Microchip equivalent and I prefer the latter. Your mileage may vary.

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I'm not throwing up my hands in despair yet.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

Measure twice, cry, go back to the hardware store

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I agree Tom.... none of us are any better at reading tea leaves than the next guy. Eventually we will be told.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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+1 Tom and Ross.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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clawson wrote:

mojo-chan wrote:
are as nice to work with as XMEGA

If you program in C how can you tell? Then it just becomes a question of the peripherals available and (possibly) how easy to use the manufacturer supplied support code is. Personally I've looked at support from Atmel (ASF) and the Microchip equivalent and I prefer the latter. Your mileage may vary.

Well, they don't have bits for controlling each peripheral spread randomly over a bunch of registers, for a start. I find things like the register naming and datasheets superior too.

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none of us are any better at reading tea leaves

...or coffee residue at the bottom of the cup....

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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I like the xmega devices like the 128/256A3U, slightly lower cost than the 1284p and of course a lot more features.

There are certain times that 3.3v is a pain but still not a major problem.

 

I agree the documentation could use a re-work, at times I have to look in the definition file to find what I need.

 

 

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Just received a newsletter from Atmel. Nothing about Microchip! Strange! I use xmega in my product, so it would be nice to know about their plans.

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jmaja1 wrote:

Just received a newsletter from Atmel. Nothing about Microchip! Strange! I use xmega in my product, so it would be nice to know about their plans.

 

Why do you think that they owe you a personalised report of their intentions? They probably don't know that level of detail themselves yet.

 

Sheesh... some people want the impossible! I am getting tired of all the "they ought to tell me everything" gripes and am tempted to put on my moderator's hat and just delete every one  of them the moment they get posted.

 

There I have said it!

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Apart from anything else I think it's the case that the legalities of the transfer mean that Microchip won't actually "OWN" it until May - so it may be a bit presumptuous to start advising customers about the way things might be headed just yet.

 

Of course this entire thread (like so much else about this takeover) is simply speculation of one amongst a million things that might happen )or might not!).

 

Who knows, perhaps Microchip bought Atmel for the very reason they want to get hold of the Xmega design and mainstream it?

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valusoft wrote:

jmaja1 wrote:

Just received a newsletter from Atmel. Nothing about Microchip! Strange! I use xmega in my product, so it would be nice to know about their plans.

 

Why do you think that they owe you a personalised report of their intentions? They probably don't know that level of detail themselves yet.

 

I didn't say they should report to me. I just thought it is strange that their newsletter that I got today by e-mail doesn't mention anything about the deal. I wouldn't even know about it, if I hadn't read this thread. Of course it is way too early to tell anything specific, but usually customers are told about this kind of things and most often some frase about that nothing changes now and further information will be given later.

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I hope some indication does come soon. I can't imagine XMEGA will go away, but it would be nice to know that development is going to continue.

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mojo-chan wrote:

I hope some indication does come soon. I can't imagine XMEGA will go away, but it would be nice to know that development is going to continue.

 

It would be nice if someone dropped $1m in small unmarked bills in my letterbox "soon", but it isn't going to happen any sooner than your wish, so stop beating us all up about it.... please. We here have no secret pipeline into the Microchip/Atmel board rooms. So please continue the discussion in your local pubs. The clientele there are likely to be just as well informed as us.

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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mojo-chan wrote:

I hope some indication does come soon.

 

One more time...the deal will not be competed until mid-May. Until that time they are two separate companies; Microchip is Microchip, Atmel is Atmel. They have two separate boards who each have a legal responsibility to maximise shareholder value to two separate sets of shareholders. They have two sets of management responsible to those boards for implementing two separate corporate strategies.

 

At this stage, whilst the lawyers are going through due-diligence, it's highly likely that the management teams don't even have access to the other companies internal information. It's highly probable that Microchip don't know which Atmel product lines are profitable and which aren't.

 

And why would they. That's a level of detail several steps below what is looked at when considering corporate mergers.

 

If guaranteed product availability is vital to you then it's time to stock up. But you should be doing that anyway.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Okay, okay... Just to be clear, I'm not blaming anyone or demanding answers. It's just that some people have had insight in the past, so I thought I'd ask.

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
... whilst the lawyers are ...
Pardon the pedantic, only attorneys can practice in the State of California; lawyers can operate in some other U.S.A. states.


 

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_6

...
CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 6  JUDICIAL


SEC. 9.  The State Bar of California is a public corporation.  Every
person admitted and licensed to practice law in this State is and
shall be a member of the State Bar except while holding office as a
judge of a court of record.

...

Edit : attach

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Mon. Feb 1, 2016 - 01:20 PM
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gchapman wrote:

Pardon the pedantic,...

 

I like pedantic. Or is that 'pedantry'? (Or should that be 'Or is that 'pedantry?') wink

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Brian Fairchild wrote:

gchapman wrote:

Pardon the pedantic,...

 

I like pedantic. Or is that 'pedantry'? (Or should that be 'Or is that 'pedantry?') wink

 

I think the question mark should be outside of the quotation. Indeed, there is no need for the quotation marks at all as you are not quoting the prior usage of the word in this thread.

 

Oh shoot me!

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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ront1234 wrote:
I like the xmega devices like the 128/256A3U, ...
And the earlier 32kB XMEGA in production and an XMEGA256A3U product in development at Gabotronics.

Gabotronics - Development Boards and Electronic Kits

http://www.gabotronics.com/

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I'd like to see some more SRAM. We have a project coming up where we need to buffer some data before writing it to SD card, and it's a choice between XMEGA and PIC24F. The PIC range has the advantage of having much larger RAM, but the disadvantage of having a much worse IDE and the only fully free compiler being ancient. Atmel are in a good position if they can keep improving the range.

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That's a place where ARMs tend to score higher than AVR/Xmega. In AVR the ratio of RAm to flash flash to RAM tends to be about 16:1. So a 16K flash AVR might have 1K RAM. In ARM it is often more like 4:1. So a 16K flash device might have 4K of RAM.

 

*edit: corrected the ratio definition. Phantom pedant *

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 2, 2016 - 05:10 PM
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Nice .sig, Cliff ;-)

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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jmaja1 wrote:
I just thought it is strange that their newsletter that I got today by e-mail doesn't mention anything about the deal.

As long as it is not legally bound, I would think that most of the information on the deal will come out of Microchip (which have, AFAIK, bassoon'ed this out on their web site). For anyone at Atmel, right now it's "sit down in the boat, and don't rock it" - they are somewhat in a limbo where they can no longer act as Atmel-with-a-future-on-it's-own and still can not acct as Atmel-as-part-of-Microchip.

 

Look mojo-chan; you just have to wait for any news, and your projects will always be at risk.

 

Anyone using any product is in as somewhat more risky terrain now than they where half a year ago. But even back then you risked Atmel saying "device(faqmily) X is EOL as of now".

 

Did any of you guys receive a letter from Atmel with a guarantee of supply lifetime for any device?

 

No?

 

No. Basta.

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 2, 2016 - 03:55 PM
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'It would be nice if someone dropped $1m in small unmarked bills in my letterbox "soon"'

 

P.M. me your address, Ross.

 

 

 

Quebracho seems to be the hardest wood.

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clawson wrote:

That's a place where ARMs tend to score higher than AVR/Xmega. In AVR the ratio of RAm to flash tends to be about 16:1. So a 16K flash AVR might have 1K RAM. In ARM it is often more like 4:1. So a 16K flash device might have 4K of RAM.

 

Indeed, we have looked at ARM. Our products run for many years on AA batteries though, and ARM just can't compete for ultra low power processing. Sleep modes are somewhat comparable (but check the electrical requirements), but not active modes.

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mojo-chan wrote:
and ARM just can't compete for ultra low power processing

Not even the M0+? The "+" is in part about power saving while running. Rather curiously that involves dropping from a 3 stage to a 2 stage pipeline among other things.

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JohanEkdahl wrote:

Look mojo-chan; you just have to wait for any news, and your projects will always be at risk.

 

Anyone using any product is in as somewhat more risky terrain now than they where half a year ago. But even back then you risked Atmel saying "device(faqmily) X is EOL as of now".

 

Did any of you guys receive a letter from Atmel with a guarantee of supply lifetime for any device?

 

No?

 

No. Basta.

 

Sure, I appreciate that. I'm not worried about XMEGA going EOL. Microchip famously rarely EOL anything, even ancient OTP PICs in DIP packages that are only used in some obscure Bulgarian toaster. I'd be surprised if they started by obsoleting a bunch of Atmel parts, especially relatively modern and well liked ones like XMEGA. Aside from anything else it would devalue their nice new acquisition massively, as everyone would assume all Atmel parts are at risk, and probably a bunch of Microchip ones too.

 

No, I'm just interested to know if there are any NEW parts on the horizon, or if anything has been said regarding future developments. I know some people here have their ears to the ground.

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clawson wrote:

mojo-chan wrote:
and ARM just can't compete for ultra low power processing

Not even the M0+? The "+" is in part about power saving while running. Rather curiously that involves dropping from a 3 stage to a 2 stage pipeline among other things.

 

On paper they look pretty good, but when you try to implement the same algorithms they end up worse and 8 bit MCUs. I suppose it really depends on what kind of processing you are doing and how you are interacting with the peripherals.

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You think the 'people who have their ears to the ground' would ever reveal anything on a public forum?

 

The only way to guarantee availability is to do like the Soviet Union did in the sixties during the race to the moon:  Build a giant facility which pulled in raw materials at one end, and pumped out rocket ships at the other.

 

These doomsday Micromel/AtChip threads are awfully entertaining, though.  I'll have to go stock up on popcorn again soon ;-)

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 2, 2016 - 04:39 PM
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Of course, if anyone wants to know the official Atmel position it's right there on the front page of their website and has been for over a week.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Brian Fairchild wrote:

Of course, if anyone wants to know the official Atmel position it's right there on the front page of their website and has been for over a week.

January 19, 2016

 

Dear Valued Atmel Customers and Channel Partners,

 

Today Microchip Technology announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Atmel. The transaction is subject to the approval of shareholders of Atmel, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. We expect the transaction to close in the second calendar quarter of 2016.

 

Microchip is a leading provider of embedded control solutions through our Microcontroller, Mixed-Signal, Analog, Flash IP solutions and Memory product lines. This acquisition adds Atmel’s strong portfolio of Microcontrollers, Wireless, Touch, Security, Memory and Automotive products to Microchip. The combined product lines of Microchip and Atmel will offer you a broader range of innovative solutions to serve your needs.

 

For now, and until the transaction closes, it will be business as usual for customers and channel partners. We will communicate any changes to you in a timely fashion after the transaction has closed. But for the foreseeable future, we request that you continue to do business using your current Atmel contacts and processes.

 

Together, we remain committed to providing you with outstanding customer service, advanced technology solutions, industry-leading supply chain management, and world-class quality and manufacturing. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local sales contact.

 

Best Regards,

 

Steve Sanghi

President and CEO

Microchip Technology Incorporated

 

Steven Laub

President and CEO

Atmel Corporation

 

Cautionary Statement:

 

Statements about the expected timing, completion and effects of the proposed transaction, and other statements in this letter that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to the actual timing of the closing of the acquisition, the satisfaction of the conditions to closing in the acquisition agreement, any termination of the acquisition agreement, the effect of the acquisition on Microchip’s and Atmel’s existing relationships with customers and vendors and their operating results and businesses; the costs and outcome of any litigation involving Microchip, Atmel or the acquisition transaction; general economic, industry or political conditions in the U.S. or internationally; and the risks described from time to time in SEC reports including filings on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K. You can obtain copies of such Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K and other relevant documents for free, as applicable, at Microchip’s website (www.microchip.com), at Atmel’s website (www.atmel.com), the SEC's website (www.sec.gov) or from commercial document retrieval services. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on our forward- looking statements, which speak only as of the date such statements are made. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or new information after the date hereof.

 

 

Letter to Customers and Channel Partners – Page 2

 

Additional Information and Where to Find It

 

This document does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. The proposed transaction will be submitted to the stockholders of Atmel for their consideration. Microchip will file a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will include a proxy statement of Atmel that will also constitute a prospectus of Microchip in connection with the acquisition transaction. Investors and security holders are urged to read this document when it becomes available because it will contain important information about the transaction. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of this document (when it is available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. Microchip, Atmel and their directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Atmel in connection with the acquisition transaction. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the transaction will be included in the proxy statement/prospectus described above. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Microchip is also included in Microchip's proxy statement for its 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on July 10, 2015, and Microchip’s amendment to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015, filed with the SEC on June 8, 2015. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Atmel is also included in Atmel’s proxy statement for its 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 3, 2015. These documents are available free of charge at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov and as described above.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 2, 2016 - 06:16 PM
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mojo-chan wrote:
I'd like to see some more SRAM. We have a project coming up where we need to buffer some data before writing it to SD card, and it's a choice between XMEGA ...
fyi is

Digital Synthesizer with ATxmega128

by Rolf

http://www.avrfreaks.net/comment/1551226#comment-1551226 (scroll down a bit for the schematic with 1MB SRAM by 2.5-port EBI and the SD)

mojo-chan wrote:
... and PIC24F.
An alternative are some of the Texas Instruments MSP430 at double the XMEGA384C3 32KB SRAM.

mojo-chan wrote:
... and the only fully free compiler being ancient.
There are recent free third-party builds of XC16.

mojo-chan wrote:
Atmel are in a good position if they can keep improving the range.
yes

 


wiki.kewl.org

tools:xc16

Microchip XC16 compiler

http://wiki.kewl.org/dokuwiki/tools:xc16

...

Free edition

...

The free edition has no limitations and does not require a license for optimisations.

...

Edit : typo

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 3, 2016 - 07:55 AM
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mojo-chan wrote:
Our products run for many years on AA batteries though, and ARM just can't compete for ultra low power processing.
Maybe one possibility in the Ambiq Micro ARM Cortex-M4F.

Power-save current (typical, room temperature) with RTC :

  • Ambiq Micro, Apollo, 143nA
  • Atmel, ATmega328PB, 1500nA
  • Atmel, ATxmega32E5, 1000nA

Operating at well above room temperature would make these differences even more apparent.

Some very low power RTC (Ambiq Micro) are on MLCC.


Subthreshold transistors and MCUs

by

December 21, 2015

http://www.embedded.com/electronics-blogs/break-points/4441091/Subthreshold-transistors-and-MCUs

Abracon

ABX8XX Application Note

Using Low Cost Ceramic Capacitors for RTC Backup Power

http://www.abracon.com/Support/ABX8XX-Application-Note.pdf

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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mojo-chan wrote:
On paper they look pretty good, but when you try to implement the same algorithms they end up worse and 8 bit MCUs.
Some 16-bit MCUs compare well versus 8-bit MCUs for that.

mojo-chan wrote:
I suppose it really depends on what kind of processing you are doing and how you are interacting with the peripherals.
Yes.

ARM usually fits well for a compute-bound problem.

Depends for an I/O-bound problem.

Power-save is usually better for some 8-bit and some 16-bit MCUs.


Atmel Corporation

© 2014 Copyright Atmel Corporation

Atmel Technology Live

8-bit AVR

http://www.atmel.com/images/8-bit%20AVR.pdf (go to page 4 for the start of "Why ...")

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Thanks for the link to the Ganssle article.  Lead me to Ambiqu:

 

Features

 

  • Ultra-low active mode power consumption: 30µA/MHz (executing from Flash)
  • Ultra-low sleep mode power consumption: 100nA (with RTC on)
  • High-performance, 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F processor
    • Up to 24MHz clock frequency
    • Floating point unit
    • Wake-up interrupt controller with 12 interrupts
  • Ultra-low power memory
    • Up to 512kB Flash
    • Up to 64kB low-leakage RAM
  • Ultra-low power interface for off-chip sensors
    • 10-bit, 13-channel, 1MS/s ADC
    • Temperature sensor with ±2°C accuracy
  • Rich set of timing peripherals
  • Flexible serial peripherals
    • I2C/SPI master for communication with external peripherals
    • I2C/SPI slave for optional host communications
    • UART for communication with peripherals and legacy devices
  • Wide operating range: 1.8 to 3.8V
  • Compact package options
    • 64-pin BGA with 50 GPIO
    • 42-pin CSP with 28 GPIO

 

30µA/MHz.  Holy smokes.  Even assuming that figure applies only to the bottom end of VCC (1.8V) and therefore at the bottom end of the speed grade, an AVR like the m328p needs 250µA/MHz at that same VCC, core only (i.e. not including oscillator).  And only 8-bits, vs. the Apollo's 32-bits.

 

No datasheet yet, and no product either AFAICS, just an announcement (their only real product ATM seems to be a family of ULP RTC, although a brief search turns up no stock).  Still, exciting.

 

EDIT: Ah.  Datasheet:

http://ambiqmicro.com/sites/default/files/apollo-product-sheet-lowest-power-mcu.pdf

Integrated buck converter.  Typical current goes >>down<< with increasing VCC.

 

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 3, 2016 - 02:40 PM
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Just found a case FOR XMega vs ARM M-series. EEPROM. I am told that, at least for Atmel's ARM chips, some include "EEPROM emulation" which appears to treat a block of flash as eeprom, but that not all do. 

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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That's always been a limitation of most embedded ARMs that are available (not just Atmel). Either you connect up an external I2C/SPI storage device or you have to emulate it by writing flash. ASF provides this kind of thing:

 

http://asf.atmel.com/docs/latest...

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ka7ehk wrote:

Just found a case FOR XMega vs ARM M-series. EEPROM. I am told that, at least for Atmel's ARM chips, some include "EEPROM emulation" which appears to treat a block of flash as eeprom, but that not all do. 

...

Yes and no! and that's for low-cost purposes and also there are some interesting points in comparing the flash of an ARM MCU like STM32 against EEPROM. look:

 

I said no because some ARM-based MCUs have EEPROM. e.g.

 

http://www.st.com/web/en/catalog/mmc/FM141/SC1169/SS1817

http://www.st.com/web/en/catalog/mmc/FM141/SC1169/SS1295

 

"One's value is inherent; money is not inherent"

 

Chuck, you are in my heart!

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Added points in favor of devices with built-in EEPROM (real or emulated) -

 

1. No added component cost

2. No added assembly cost

3. No added board area

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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joeymorin wrote:

 

30µA/MHz.  Holy smokes.  Even assuming that figure applies only to the bottom end of VCC (1.8V) and therefore at the bottom end of the speed grade, an AVR like the m328p needs 250µA/MHz at that same VCC, core only (i.e. not including oscillator).  And only 8-bits, vs. the Apollo's 32-bits.

 

 

Integrated buck converter.  Typical current goes >>down<< with increasing VCC.

 

 

AVR's have no internal regulator, so their Icc varies greatly with Vcc.

Most ARMs are on finer process and better ones have internal regulators, which keeps Icc and MHz largely fixed

This example has more than one regulator, and the lower Icc when Buck-on, suggests a core Vcc of  maybe 1.2V

 

There is also a growing number of ARMs now offering Wide Vcc, allowing direct 5V operation.

Nuvoton, Spansion, ABOV, Cypress, Infineon ....

This will have quite an effect on sales of generic non-5V capable parts.

They will be squeezed between super-low Icc parts like Apollo, and wide Vcc parts.

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 3, 2016 - 07:34 PM
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AVR's have no internal regulator, so their Icc varies greatly with Vcc.

That was neither a surprise, nor a mystery to me.  However it means the claim of 30uA/MHz needs to be evaluated with the higher-end of the VCC range in mind, rather than the lower-end of VCC as you would for devices without an internal buck regulator, where ICC drops as VCC drops.

 

A better metric would be power/MHz rather than current/MHz.

 

It makes sense that a subthreshold device would require a carefully regulated supply.

 

suggests a core Vcc of  maybe 1.2V

Possibly much lower.  That is implied by the subthreshold design.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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joeymorin wrote:
30µA/MHz.  Holy smokes.  Even assuming that figure applies only to the bottom end of VCC (1.8V) and therefore at the bottom end of the speed grade, an AVR like the m328p needs 250µA/MHz at that same VCC, core only (i.e. not including oscillator).
For an AVR slight contrast is xmega32E5 (typical : Vcc, core, oscillator, core+oscillator) :

  • 1.8V, 300uA/2MHz = 150uA/MHz, 45uA, 345uA/2MHz = 173uA/MHz
  • 3.0V, 7000uA/32MHz = 219uA/MHz, 275uA, 7275uA/32MHz = 227uA/MHz

joeymorin wrote:
No datasheet yet, and no product either AFAICS, just an announcement ...
There is an evaluation board.

Atmel does similar by use of engineering sample MCU onto an Atmel board.

Good way to try something new in a proof-of-concept way (on the bench), work-around the known defects, and identify more defects.

An example of win-win for all.

joeymorin wrote:
(their only real product ATM seems to be a family of ULP RTC, although a brief search turns up no stock)
Stock of the ULP RTC?

If yes, Ambiq Micro sells the die to Abracon for packaging and test; IIRC Infineon does similar with its RTC.

http://www.abracon.com/products.php?search=rtc&type=RTC%20IC%20-%20Ultra%20Low%20Power

http://www.abracon.com/news2013.php (search for Ambiq Micro)

joeymorin wrote:
EDIT: Ah.  Datasheet:
Good to see use of CoreMark; can then get into micro-amp/CoreMark.

Highlights the more than significant compute capability of ARM Cortex-M along with Ambiq Micro's ultra-low current feature.

Radios need a "lot" of current; therefore, compress and encrypt the data, turn on the radio, transmit, turn everything off, sleep.

 

Edit : 2nd URL

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Thu. Feb 4, 2016 - 04:57 AM

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