Delivering High Performance for Sophisticated Applications

 

Robust Connectivity and Intelligent Interface Support

Atmel® microcontrollers are designed to deliver maximum performance to meet the needs of today's advanced applications. Their highly integrated architectures are optimized for high-speed connectivity, optimal data bandwidth, and rich interface support, making them ideal for powering the smart, connected products that are at the heart of The Internet of Things.

 

Enhancing Connectivity

As applications become more interconnected and user interfaces become richer, microcontrollers must handle and transfer ever-growing levels of data. To boost performance for these smart, connected applications, Atmel's 8-bit Flash MCUs integrate a wide range of classic communication peripherals, such as UART, SPI and I2C. Higher-performance 32-bit MCUs and embedded MPUs (eMPUs) feature Ethernet and full-speed and high-speed USB, while also providing extension ports for external communication modules such as WiFi or cellular modems..

The ARM® processor-based SAM9G45 eMPU with its high-speed 480 Mbps USB Host and Device Ports with on-chip transceivers, Ethernet MAC and SDIO/SD Card/MMC interfaces, gives developers an easy way to manage large amounts of data and interconnection both between systems and between printed circuit boards (PCBs) inside a system. It is fully compliant with both EHCI and OHCI standards, to enable easy porting of proven USB host drivers to the SAM9G45.

The Atmel 32-bit AVR® and AT91SAM devices are also well-suited for a wide range of standards-based high-speed USB applications. The peripheral DMA controller found in the AVR XMEGA® and AVR UC3 enables efficient data transfers between peripherals and memories with minimal CPU intervention. It eliminates CPU bottlenecks, allowing AVR microcontrollers to achieve transfer rates of up to 33 MBit/s per SPI and USART port with only a 15 percent load on the CPU.

In addition, Atmel offers a complete line of IEEE 802.15.4-compliant, IPv6/6LoWPAN based, ZigBee certified wireless solutions. They are based on Atmel’s rich family of RF transceivers, 8-bit and 32-bit AVR, and ARM microcontrollers. To ease development and speed time to market, Atmel offers a variety of free software stacks, reference designs, wireless modules and development kits.

 

Maximizing Bandwidth

To ensure sufficient data bandwidth, Atmel's 32-bit MCUs and eMPUs contains a set of parallel data buses where each bus master controls its own dedicated bus connected to all the slaves. This lets the devices support tremendous data bandwidth and removes processing bottlenecks.

Atmel 400 MHz eMPUs also feature a high data speedway architecture based on a peripheral DMA (direct memory access) and distributed memory architecture that, together with a multi-layer bus matrix, enables multiple simultaneous data transfers between memories, peripherals and external interfaces without consuming CPU clock cycles.

Select models of Atmel's 32-bit microcontrollers also feature additional SRAM blocks connected to the multi-layer databus or tightly-coupled with the CPU. This allows devices with multiple high-speed communication interfaces to transfer more data by allowing each peripheral to use all of the available bandwidth of any one of the SRAMs. Combined with the peripheral DMA controller, this allows large blocks of data to be transferred with minimal load on the CPU.

 

Powering Sophisticated Interfaces

Industrial applications, such as home and commercial building automation, data loggers, point-of-sale terminals and cash registers, in-house displays for energy metering, alarm systems and medical equipment, are joining the “smart” revolution currently enjoyed by portable media player and smartphone markets. In addition to Internet connectivity being included everywhere, a central aspect of The Internet of Things, the way people interface and interact with equipment is fundamentally changing. This is forcing hardware designers to increase the processor performance to several 100 MIPS, the peripheral data rates to tens of Mbps and on and off-chip bandwidth to Gbps. The memory size scales with the software to several Mbytes in cases of an RTOS-based implementation or tens of Mbytes for Linux® or Microsoft® Embedded CE. Ultimately, videos are replacing static images. To address this demand, the Atmel SAM9M10 eMPU embeds a high-performance hardware video decoder and 2D accelerator, delivering a high-quality user experience, while preserving the full processing power of the central processing unit for the application.

Atmel is continuing to build on its legacy of innovation and highly integrated designs, to deliver a solid combination of performance, flexibility, and efficiency to support the machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the evolution of the “industrial Internet.”

 

Reference Materials

Below is a selection of Atmel application notes and other documents for your reference.

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AVR32UC Technical Reference Manual (159 pages, revision F, updated 3/10)
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AT91SAM9G45 Preliminary Summary (56 pages, revision ES, updated 6/10)
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AVR32119: Getting Started with 32-bit AVR UC3 A series Microcontrollers (18 pages, revision C, updated 3/10)
This application note is aimed at helping the reader become familiar with the Atmel 32-bit AVR UC3 A series microcontroller.
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AVR2023: AT86RF231 PCB reference design for antenna diversity (15 pages, revision A, updated 8/08)
The AT86RF231 diversity board demonstrates the capabilities of the 802.15.4 compliant 2.4 GHz radio transceiver AT86RF231. With the high performance ATmega1281V AVR microcontroller it serves as a full function network node that is capable of hosting a MAC implementation driven by two AAA batteries for more than one year. Two ceramic chip antennas increase the link budget in a typical indoor scenario with multipath fading effects.