Sub-threshold logic MCU maker claims low-power benchmark lead

November 13, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Ambiq Micro’s ultra-low power MCU has achieved a score, on EEMBC's ULPBench, of 377, more than twice the previous leader’s submission of 185.

Ambiq Micro is the company that claims to have mastered the issues around building a production microcontroller in a sub-threshold logic process (where logic levels are propagated as different voltage levels, each of which is below the 'normal' logic 'on/off' switching threshold. Ambiq is now citing the EEMBC low power benchmark in its claim to have, “made history as a microcontroller that consumes less than half the energy of any other.”

The benchmark, created to assist embedded designers in selecting the lowest power MCU, standardises a typical low power design workload and measures the actual energy required to complete that workload. This approach normalises the many different behaviours of MCU operation such as active current, sleep current, wake-up time, core efficiency, and cache efficiency. It then synthesises this data into a single value – the amount of energy required to complete their specific application.

Keith Odland, Senior Director of Marketing at Ambiq Micro comments, “It’s the kind of leap in performance that’s going to make the creation of completely new consumer products possible by more than doubling battery life or enabling more features to be added without increasing the power budget.”

”To state that the Apollo MCU’s ULPBench results are impressive is truly an understatement, providing a practical, real-world demonstration of the device’s nearly ideal voltage transfer characteristics of its logic gates and reduced gate input capacitance,” said Markus Levy, EEMBC President. “After completing certification by the EEMBC Technology Centre, we have confirmed that the Apollo MCU scores were achieved in compliance with the ULPBench standard requirements.”