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September 21, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc’s Electronic Device Group has unveiled the next generation of 16-bit single-chip microcontrollers, the M16 family. The company reckons the family offers three to four times the performance of the current 16-bit M37700 family. So far, there is only one family member, the M31000S2FP, which has been designed for use as a main controller for printers, hard disk drives and communications applications. But the company said all the family will be offered as application-specific standard products for things like printers, ISDN controllers and hard disk drives. The core, a 32-bit architecture with 16 32-bit built-in general purpose registers, will also be available for embedded cell-based application specific designs. The device also offers 24-bit addressing that yields access to a 16Mb memory space, larger than the company’s 16-bit family has offered before and making it ideal, the company reckons, for applications such as printers. The symmetrical instruction set provides support for large-scale programming in high-level languages such as C or C++. Mitsubishi likens the increasing use of C compilers as similar to the move made by personal computer users from MS-DOS to Windows and it has pledged to optimise its microcontrollers’ architecture to make the most efficient use of C. The core is modifiable, enabling it to be adapted for a variety of applications requiring special data handling or intensive computations.


The core executes a basic instruction in just one clock cycle. At 20MHz, this core delivers 2.5 MIPS performance, said the company. The microcontroller is a ROMless device that offers up to 2Kb of on-chip RAM and nine on-chip peripheral input-output devices, making the compiler easier to use. External ROM or other peripheral functions can also be interfaced to the chip, thanks to the device’s on-chip Dynamic RAM controller and chip select control circuitry so it can make use of external Static and Dynamic RAM and Electrically Programmable ROM. The microcontroller comes with a set of peripherals that include an interrupt controller, five DMAC channels, 10 timers, a UART, a clock synchronised serial input-output with First In, First Out, an analogue-digital converter and a 21-bit watchdog timer. The company has also lined up third party development support tools for the chip. These include Green Hills Software Inc’s optimising C++ compiler fully integrated with its Multi Development Environment, which supports program building and debugging. There is also a reference design system that integrates the microcontroller with Microsoft Corp’s Windows Printing System, which enables printer designers to evaluate the performance of printer designs based on the new microcontroller. The M31000S2FP comes in 160-pin Quad Flat Packss and costs $17.50 in 10,000-up quantities. However, the company has not abandoned the M37700 family: it has just launched, in conjunction with IAR Systems Ltd of London, an updated version of the DK16, an embedded development kit that provides C source level debugging, and which now has IAR’s ROM Monitor, Debugger and Macros Assember. The new DK16 costs around ú700.

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