ARM lifts performance levels in MCU sector with Cortex-M7 processor

September 25, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
ARM has announced the Cortex-M7 processor that, used in microcontroller cores, will increase performance and bring efficient digital signal processing to enable devices for the industrial, infrastructure and domestic sectors. ARM partners (see statements from ST, Freescale) have announced their intentions to add the core to their chip families. The core has specific options to support safety-critical designs.

This 32-bit Cortex-M processor will offer double the compute and digital signal processing (DSP) capability of today's most powerful ARM-based MCUs. The ARM Cortex-M7 is targeted at high-end embedded applications used in next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories. Early licensees of the Cortex-M7 processor include Atmel, Freescale and ST Microelectronics.

ARM says that the core will achieve 5 CoreMark/MHz, on the EEMBC rating. This performance allows the Cortex-M7 to deliver a combination of high performance and digital signal control functionality that will enable MCU silicon manufacturers to target highly demanding embedded applications while keeping development costs low.

Enabling faster processing of audio and image data and voice recognition, the core uses the same “C-friendly” programmer's model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors. Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7. System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs.

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