Atmel Corporation has begun shipping production quantities of the Atmel SAMA5D3 series, its highest performance, low-power microprocessor units (MPUs) based on the ARM Cortex-A5 core. The SAMA5D3 series is designed for embedded applications in the industrial space, including factory and building automation, smart grid, medical and handheld terminals, along with consumer applications such as smart watches, outdoor GPS, DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) phones.
In industrial applications in particular, there is an on-going requirement for higher processing power and faster connectivity. In the consumer space, battery-powered applications and wearable products are driving the requirements for lower power consumption, while smartphone and tablets are setting new, more advanced standards for user interfaces as the shift moves beyond mobile to home automation and control panels for white goods. In both market segments, security threats such as hacking and cloning are growing concerns.
In response to these market demands, Atmel has developed the SAMA5D3 MPUs using a 65nm low-power process technology to deliver up to 850DMIPS at 536MHz while offering 1328MB/s at 166MHz bus speed. The floating point unit (FPU) also provides additional high-precision processing power for image, audio and sensor data. The series delivers low-power consumption under 200mW in active mode at maximum speed and below 0.5mW in low-power mode when retaining context and offering fast wake-up.
To serve a broad range of applications, the SAMA5D3 series embeds a comprehensive peripheral set which includes a dual Ethernet port (one Gigabit), 3x high-speed USB ports, dual CAN, TFT LCD controller with graphics accelerator for image composition, camera interface, SDIO/SD/MMC, UARTs, SPIs, TWIs, soft modem, 12-bit ADC and 32-bit timers.
Shipping in a 324-ball BGA package, the four versions with a different peripheral mix are available to best match the end system requirements. The powerful peripherals in the devices enable connectivity and user interface applications for home and commercial building automation, smart grid, point of sale, medical and other industrial applications.
The SAMA5D3 series also integrates state-of-the-art security capabilities that address piracy, counterfeiting and other risks. With a secure boot loader, the SAMA5D3 ensures the integrity and authenticity of the program stored in the boot memory, protecting customers against cloning. The series also includes a hardware encryption engine with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) support to encrypt/decrypt data or communications while a true random number generator (TRNG) can be used to generate or diversify unique keys.
“With so many vertical applications in the industrial sector, it’s important to offer the right mix of MPUs to satisfy every customer’s requirements,” said Jacko Wilbrink, Sr. Director of ARM Products, Atmel Corporation. “Our new Cortex-A5 processor-based devices address all these requirements, from battery-operated wearable products to high-performance applications requiring high-precision processing and secure connection to the Internet. We’ll continue to grow our ARM portfolio, developing new state-of-the-art products to meet the unique design criteria of a broad range of customers.”
Designers can start prototyping their designs with the SAMA5D3 evaluation kits. There is one kit per SAMA5D3 derivative. A kit is delivered with a Linux demonstration software and a graphical user interface (GUI) based on Qt. The softpack is also compatible with the evaluation kit.