Latest Atmel Cortex-M4 MCUs consume 66% less power

The Atmel Corporation claims to have set new low-power and efficiency standards for ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based microcontrollers (MCUs) with the launch of the new SAM4L family of devices. Incorporating the company”s proprietary ultra-low power picoPower technology, the SAM4L family consumes just one-third the power of current solutions.

The SAM4L family is the industry”s first device to provide ultra-low power consumption bundled with wake-up times while delivering total application performance in all operating modes.

The SAM4L family consumes down to 90µA/MHz in active mode and is able to achieve up to 28 CoreMark/mA using the IAR Embedded Workbench, version 6.40. In sleep mode, the devices consume 1.5µA with full random access memory (RAM) retention, and 700nA in back-up mode.

With wake-up times down to 1.5µs from the deepest sleep modes, the SAM4L family has been designed for battery-powered consumer, industrial and portable healthcare products. The devices take advantage of the numerous Atmel picoPower power-saving innovations, including SleepWalking, Peripheral Event System, unrivaled wake-up times and intelligent peripherals.

The Peripheral Event System is a real-time network that allows peripherals to communicate directly with one another without using the central processing unit (CPU). In addition, SleepWalking technology allows a peripheral to qualify and evaluate incoming data without the use of the CPU, eliminating unneeded, power-consuming CPU wake-ups to conserve power. This allows the peripherals to qualify an event and decide to wake-up whether it is from capacitive touch, I2C address match or an ADC threshold. The SAM4L devices feature peripherals designed to reduce the overall power consumption such as the innovative LCD controller that include ASCII character mapping, hardware scrolling and blinking support.

Commenting Alf-Egil Bogen and Vegard Wollan, co-inventors of the AVR architecture, Atmel Corporation said, “By incorporating some of the best technologies of the AVR platform into our new Cortex-M4 MCU portfolio of products, we”re delivering unprecedented low power to the ARM community and a new level of compatibility and familiarity between our two popular microcontroller families.”

“From small battery operated devices to big data centric automated systems, power efficiency is a key element for design success that often hinges on an energy-efficient microcontroller choice such as the Atmel SAM4L MCU. Energy efficiency can no longer be just lowest applications power or even sleep power, the successful MCU for energy-efficient design must innovate less wake time and more efficient applications processing to get to lower power states faster for the greatest overall energy efficiency,” said Tom Hackenberg, principal analyst for MCUs and DSPs, at IHS.


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