Renesas MCUs include graphics/display memory & ARM Cortex-A cores

June 21, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Renesas Electronics has disclosed the first products in its RZ family with large-capacity on-chip ram to enable dram-less design for high performance and low system cost; 10 MB of on-chip RAM is said to be the largest capacity available, allowing a WXGA display without external memory

There are five new products in the RZ/A1 Group of embedded microprocessor (MPU) solutions (with subcategories RZ/A1H, RZ/A1M, and RZ/A1L) for creating sophisticated human-machine interfaces (HMIs). These are the first products to appear in the RZ Family of embedded MPUs, previewed by Renesas in October 2012 under the banner “the fusion of control and IT.”

Key features of the new products include 10 MB of on-chip RAM and capabilities needed to implement an HMI, such as camera input, hardware accelerated graphics output, OpenVG 1.1 and audio functions.

Since there is no need for additional external memory (DRAM), developers of new products can implement a WXGA-resolution (1,280 x 768 pixels) graphics display without concerns about the long-term procurement of DRAM, while achieving improved system performance, reduced power consumption, and lower system cost overall. In addition, the use of a CPU designed by ARM allows developers to take advantage of the ARM ecosystem, contributing to shorter system development cycles and a reduction in development costs.

DRAM-less solutions with large-capacity on-chip RAM eliminates concerns associated with external DRAM while contributing to improved system performance and reduced cost. 10 MB of on-chip RAM capacity means that the internal memory is sufficient to handle instruction codes during program execution and large volumes of image data required for HMI applications such as graphics processing. In addition, with on-chip RAM there are no bandwidth limitations imposed by the pin counts of the chips. Wide-band, low-latency memory access is possible, enabling overall system performance to be increased by as much as 30 to 50%.

The RZ/A1 Series products employ ARM CPUs alongside peripheral functions that have been inherited from the Renesas SH7260 Series. This enables developers adopting the new RZ/A1 Series products to make full use of their experience with previous Renesas products in system development.

Developers will also benefit from an even wider range of highly flexible development tools from an array of tool vendors who have