Guest blog by Christine Young, Maxim Integrated
More, more, and more—this is what the internet of things (IoT) is continuing to demand in terms of the power, memory, and security of the underlying electronic components. Many of our existing and emerging connected devices are small and powered by coin-cell batteries. Yet, despite the limited battery capacity, users still expect long-lasting performance and rich functionality. Power efficiency is essential in order to extend battery life or enable more intelligent computation on an existing power budget. More memory would allow you to build products that can run more complex applications, gather more sensor data, run multiple stacks, and much more. And security is critical considering how vulnerable IoT devices deployed in the wild can be to hacking and other breaches.
Not all of the market’s microcontrollers (MCUs) are equipped to meet all of these demands. Some are good in terms of power consumption but have limited processing and memory capabilities. Others deliver good processing capability but also consume more power and are limited in memory.
But now, there’s a new breed of low-power MCUs at your disposal. DARWIN MCUs are power-efficient, memory-rich, and secure MCUs that are built to run an array of smart, connected applications. With DARWIN MCUs, you get:
- Wearable-grade power technology, including the lowest active mode and SRAM retention power available, so you can get the most out of smaller batteries
- The biggest embedded memories in their class, so you won’t have to worry about running out of code space, processing SRAM, or adding another MCU
- A scalable memory architecture, allowing you to tap into external memory interfaces if needed to run code from external flash or access external SRAM
- Advanced embedded security technology, including proven cryptographic engines and options for secure boot and IP protection
In the DARWIN family of MCUs are Generation U ultra-low-power parts and Generation UP parts . The MAX32660, which is based on the low-power Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor and provides a floating-point unit, is one of the newest Generation U MCUs. The MAX32660 provides the memory needed (256KB flash and 96KB SRAM) to run some advanced algorithms and manage sensors, while also delivering excellent power performance (down to 50µW/MHz) in a 1.6mm x 1.6mm WLP. MAX32650/MAX32651/MAX32652, all based on the Arm Cortex-M4 processor and including a floating-point unit, are among the newest Generation UP products.
The MAX32650 provides 3MB of flash and 1MB of SRAM on chip, balancing the low power consumption of an embedded microcontroller with the capabilities of a higher powered applications processor. The device also integrates high-speed peripherals including USB 2.0, secure digital (SD) card controller, a thin-film transistor (TFT) display, and a complete security engine. Its memory architecture scales, as the MCU can also run from external memories over HyperBus or XcellaBus. Similar to the MAX32650, the MAX32651 is a secure version featuring a trust protection unit (TPU) with a modular arithmetic accelerator (MAA) for fast ECSDA, an AES engine, true random number generator (TRNG), SHA-256 hash, and secure bootloader.
So if you’re ready to delight customers with small, yet powerful connected products, get to know the DARWIN family of MCUs.
Christine Young is a technology writer at Maxim Integrated, where she covers a variety of technical topics in articles, papers, and on Maxim’s mgineer blog. She began her career as a journalist and has since built an extensive history working in the semiconductor industry.