Atmel Creates Customizable Microcontroller-based SoC Platform

Atmel(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML), announced the CAP microcontroller-based system-on-chip (SoC) platform for complex applications that require fast time-to-market. CAP features high-speed local memory, a wide range of industry-standard peripherals and interfaces, and a high-capacity metal programmable (MP) block that allows the designer to add a significant amount of custom logic on-chip. By leveraging the architecture of Atmel’s market-leading ARM(R) AT91SAM microcontrollers, the new CAP metal programmable microcontroller platform enables application-specific products to be developed in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional standard-cell or gate array ASIC, but at a unit price close to that of standard-cell devices. Stocks of CAP platforms are held prior to metal layer fabrication, allowing prototypes to be delivered rapidly, and accelerating volume production.

CAP is based on Atmel’s Metal Programmable Cell Fabric (MPCF) that provides nearly identical routed gate densities to those of standard cells in the same process.

The initial CAP product introduction comprises the AT91CAP9S series, based on the ARM926EJ-S(TM) processor.

The AT91CAP9S offers a 200 MHz ARM926EJ-S core with 16 KBytes each of program and data cache, 32 KBytes of additional SRAM, 32 KBytes of ROM, EBI with error correction code (ECC) for NAND Flash/SmartMedia(R) and 250K or 500K metal programmable gates. Peripherals include both a USB full-speed host and USB 2.0 high-speed device, 10/100 Ethernet MAC, image sensor interface, 2.0A and 2.0B CAN controller, LCD controller, MCI, SSC, PWM, LCD and AC97 controllers, SPI master and slave, two USARTs, three 16-bit timer counters, an 8-channel, 10-bit analog to digital converter, and a full complement of supervisory functions. Optional hardware AES/TDES encryption/decryption engines are also included. The AT91CAP9S is built around a multi-layered bus and a distributed DMA architecture for the high internal data bandwidth required by deeply embedded networked applications.

Dual-core architectures can be created by instantiating an additional ARM(R) core, Atmel’s proprietary AVR(R) processor or a DSP core in the MP Block. Bus master controls are brought into the MP Block, and DMA access can be provided to the system bus.

The AT91CAP9-DK development board implements the fixed portion of the CAP device as a microcontroller standard product, tightly coupled to a high-density FPGA that emulates the MP Block. The boards also include a range of memories and physical interfaces/connectors representing external system components. This configuration enables parallel hardware/software testing of the application under development at close to operational speed, with no penalty for hardware modifications. This enables software development to proceed in parallel with hardware development, and significantly reduces the design cycle time, increasing confidence in a right-first-time system solution.

Atmel’s CAP products are supported by the same third-party development tools as Atmel’s standard product AT91SAM ARM-based MCUs, including C/C++ compilers, in-circuit emulators and debuggers, from third party suppliers. AT91CAP9S is able to host Microsoft(R) Windows(R) CE and Linux(R), and a number of proprietary real-time operating systems. This extensive software support network simplifies the task of application development.

Availability and Pricing
CAP NRE starts at $150K, to cover netlist implementation/placement&routing in the Metal Programmable Block, mask costs, fabrication, testing and delivery of prototypes. AT91CAP9S is priced at $13 in volumes of 100K units. AT91CAP9S products and development boards are available now.

About Atmel
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry’s broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

Atmel(R), logo and combinations thereof, AVR(R) and others, are registered trademarks, or trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. ARM(R), ARM7TDMI(R) and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of ARM Ltd. Windows(R) and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries.