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Old 11-15-2010, 05:13 PM
wireless
 
Default OT: HiTech-C question

Previously you wrote:

> It's not a realistic spec for any microcontroller. Please try again,
> with more care. You can get most of what you want in a single package
> but not all of it. Unless of course you make your own.. Take an Actel
> M1A3P250 with an ARM Cortex-M1 hardcore, then you could easily fit
> all those peripherals in one package.

Oh sure it is, but not in the 32 bit world.

> M1A3P250 starts at $11.99 at Future Electronics. (MOQ=180, was 90 before)
> But maybe you'll be able to put something else on the board into the
> FPGA to balance that extra cost.

yes, 32 bit and dsp processors have come way down on price.
But, when you look at building a complete embedded system,
those high end processors eat you alive on external
component count and manufacturing costs. That board I just
spec'd cost less that $30 to manufacture, with a PIC and
every thing else that I did not require, like molex
connectors and such.


> As you see, part cost is no problem for ARM, but you'll need more
> than one component for your project however you do it.

PRECISELY!; a 32 bit part can never compete with a micro if
specs are tight and cost/power requirements are astringent,
which most are. Certainly anything that is manufacutured in
lots of 10 or more, every penny counts and cost reduction
rules the decision process, never what some employee or
consult "likes". They (32+) only compete when you actually
need all those mips and mops, which is rare for the vast
majority of uP based products.

Don't believe me, just do a little research into the
numbers, not the (dollar) values, of those little 8/16 bit
parts. Fairchild and such won't even talk to you about
anything less than 1M in qty per quarter. For large
companies, those (8/16)uP are sub $1, for qty 10k or
more....... Some companies sell uP for pennies, just
to get the supply contract for the passives and such
on really large deals.

8/16 STILL rules the world and dominates the economics of
embedded. Granted 32 bit cores that run linux are very cool
and preferred by most embedded folks, but, that's a very
small number of design wins with big quantity (cell phones
for example), compared to their mature brethren (8/16).
There are millions of design wins each year, STILL, for 8/16
bit micros....

and yes, I like ARM very much, particularly in areas of
low power design, relative to intel or amd.


James
 
Old 11-15-2010, 05:53 PM
Peter Stuge
 
Default OT: HiTech-C question

wireless wrote:
> > It's not a realistic spec for any microcontroller. Please try again,
> > with more care. You can get most of what you want in a single package
> > but not all of it. Unless of course you make your own.. Take an Actel
> > M1A3P250 with an ARM Cortex-M1 hardcore, then you could easily fit
> > all those peripherals in one package.
>
> Oh sure it is, but not in the 32 bit world.

You can get one, but will end up with a much larger chip, in order to
find one which has all the things you needed, and it'll also have a
ton of other stuff that you don't need.

To a degree I think this goes for all processor makers, but granted,
Microchip really have very many parts with only small peripheral
differences.


> > M1A3P250 starts at $11.99 at Future Electronics. (MOQ=180, was 90 before)
> > But maybe you'll be able to put something else on the board into the
> > FPGA to balance that extra cost.
>
> yes, 32 bit and dsp processors have come way down on price.

The M1A3P250 is not a processor, it's a processor and FPGA combined.


> But, when you look at building a complete embedded system,
> those high end processors eat you alive on external
> component count and manufacturing costs.

The point that this thread tries to make is that all 32-bit
processors are not "high end" as you might be used to.

In particular the Cortex-M products are quite fuss free. A handful of
caps is really all you need. That goes for the M1-enabled FPGA too.


> That board I just spec'd cost less that $30 to manufacture, with a
> PIC and every thing else that I did not require, like molex
> connectors and such.

I think the cost would not be significantly higher if using something
more powerful than a PIC, and the other point this thread tries to
make is that the development work would be significantly easier,
netting a total reduced cost.


> > As you see, part cost is no problem for ARM, but you'll need more
> > than one component for your project however you do it.
>
> PRECISELY!; a 32 bit part can never compete with a micro if
> specs are tight and cost/power requirements are astringent,
> which most are. Certainly anything that is manufacutured in
> lots of 10 or more, every penny counts and cost reduction
> rules the decision process, never what some employee or
> consult "likes". They (32+) only compete when you actually
> need all those mips and mops, which is rare for the vast
> majority of uP based products.

I think you would benefit from re-evaluating this position, quickly.

And of course it is simply folly to save on production cost in a
small (1k, 10k) run if there is a noticeable tradeoff to be made with
software/firmware development effort.

For lots of 10, 100, 1000 and even 10000, pennies in production are
irrelevant, they translate to just a few hours worth of development
time.

I haven't looked closely at the power numbers for M0, so for power,
physical size and mass production I agree that it remains very
important to choose parts very carefully.

But ARM cores have quite significant benefits in development, and
especially with Cortex-M0 they are eating up big parts of what used
to be an 8- or 16-bit only market.


> Don't believe me, just do a little research into the numbers,

This is my point too.


> Fairchild and such won't even talk to you about
> anything less than 1M in qty per quarter.

That's certainly not my experience from (in particular) Fairchild.


> For large companies, those (8/16)uP are sub $1, for qty 10k or
> more....... Some companies sell uP for pennies, just
> to get the supply contract for the passives and such
> on really large deals.

Of course it may be significant to save $1 (vs. the $1.46 ARM in
100qty, assuming you can get down to $0.46 for something else) for a
10k run, but certainly not for a 100qty run. It buys just one hour of
development time.


> 8/16 STILL rules the world and dominates the economics of embedded.

The state today is mostly uninteresting IMO, I find what happens
tomorrow all the more interesting. ARM is quickly taking a big part
of the market.


> Granted 32 bit cores that run linux are very cool and preferred by
> most embedded folks, but, that's a very small number of design wins
> with big quantity (cell phones for example), compared to their
> mature brethren (8/16).

That's comparing apples and oranges. I think you should really take
a look at the smallest ARM cores.


> and yes, I like ARM very much, particularly in areas of
> low power design, relative to intel or amd.

While more on-topic for gentoo-embedded that is only the Cortex-A
parts, which is on the opposite end of ARM's line card. Look into
the Cortex-Ms.


//Peter
 
Old 11-15-2010, 06:28 PM
Arkadi Shishlov
 
Default OT: HiTech-C question

On 11/15/10 20:13, wireless wrote:
> PRECISELY!; a 32 bit part can never compete with a micro if
> specs are tight and cost/power requirements are astringent,

About power, I think PIC/AVR/MSP can't play that card anymore.

180 A/MHz while running applications from Flash memory and a Shutoff mode with
only 20 nA.

http://www.energymicro.com/technology
 

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