First use of ARM Cortex-M7 by ST steps up STM32 MCU performance

September 25, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
STMicroelectronics has announced the extension of its STM32 family of more than 500 pin- and software-compatible microcontrollers. The new STM32 F7 microcontroller (MCU) series uses the ARM Cortex-M7 core, just announced as ARM’s newest and most powerful Cortex-M processor.

The STM32 F7 series leapfrogs the performance of the STM32 F4, which ST asserts is already the industry's top-performing 32-bit Cortex-M device, in delivering up to twice as much processing and DSP performance, that is accessible via a seamless upgrade path.

The STM32 F7 MCU series operates at frequencies up to 200 MHz and uses a 6-stage superscalar pipeline and Floating Point Unit (FPU) to produce up to 1000 CoreMarks. Architectural innovations surrounding the MCU boost performance and ease of use: ST has included two independent mechanisms to reach 0-wait-state performance from both internal and external memories: using ST’s Adaptive Real-Time (ART Accelerator) for internal embedded Flash and L1 cache for both execution and data access from internal and external memories.

ST says that the new level of internal- and external-memory performance gives developers new possibilities for innovation, as they no longer need to optimise their code for performance and memory. Manufactured on ST’s 90nm embedded-non-volatile memory CMOS process, the STM32 F7 series represents, the company says, an advanced, future-proof architecture that will have significant headroom to deliver far greater MCU performance as it migrates to more advanced process geometries.

Further Technical Information:

The higher performance of the STM32 F7 has not impacted power efficiency. Despite greater functionality, the new series’ Run mode and low-power modes (STOP, Standby, and VBAT) consume current at the same levels as the STM32 F4: 7 CoreMarks/mW in Run mode and, for low-power modes, down to 120 µA typical in STOP mode with all context and SRAM content saved, 1.7 µA typical in STANDBY mode and 0.1 µA typical in VBAT mode.

In addition to ST’s ART Accelerator and 4 kBytes Instruction and Data caches, the STM32 F7 includes smart and flexible system architecture:

- An AXI and Multi-AHB (Advanced High-performance Bus) matrix with dual general-purpose DMA (Direct Memory Access) controllers and dedicated DMA controllers for Ethernet, USB OTG HS (Universal Serial Bus On-the-Go High