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From: Chuck Simmons
Organization: You jest.
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (X11; U; Linux 2.0.33 i586)
Subject: Re: Examples Of Common MCU's In Consumer Electronics?
References: <3D7EAA79.F245AC56@webaccess.net> <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 12:22:59 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 05:22:59 PDT
> Chuck Simmons wrote in message news:<3D7EAA79.F245AC56@webaccess.net>...
> > Geraldo Sazias wrote:
> > >
> > > Can someone cite some examples of 'common' (frequently used by hobbyists)
> > > MCU's (AVR,PIC and MSP430) being used in consumer and or mass produced
> > > electronics? Whenever I open up some consumer electronics device it has
> > > either an unknown MCU or one I can't identify at all (ussually bump
> > > packaged directly onto the PCB). Is it even economically viable to use on of
> > > these MCU's in a million plus class consumer electronics device?
> > Actually, a lot of MCUs are buried in ASICs so you don't know they are
> > there. It is so easy to develop ASICs with buried MCUs that recognizable
> > MCU parts will likely vanish from consumer products. The goals of highly
> > integrated solutions are cost, speed and simplified development in that
> > order. There are quite a number of MCU/MPU products that exist in ASIC
> > libraries so that new designs using MPUs with gate arrays and analog
> > functions are reality. Since the cost of ASICs is silicon area and
> > package, it is impossible to compete with ASICs by using familiar
> > MCU/MPU parts with jelly bean glue.
> The integration process doesn't stop, though. A SOC will lead
> inevitably to a system comprising several SOC's. Which will then end
> up as a SOC if the requirement is large enough. But in the
> intervening period, the multiple-chip units are manufactured. My ACER
> fax machine has a Z80 + EPROM (not a new one, obviously :) ) even
> though there were many mature MCUs available when it was made.
I have an evaluation kit in the lab I have not had time to look at that
consists of an MPU and an FPGA on the same chip the idea being that the
glue around the MPU can be absorbed into the FPGA (more than a little
glue because there are a few thousand gates). The MPU needs no external
memory because it has flash and RAM with it as well.
This appears to be the next step from an MPU with an FPGA in the next
package. By pulling the MCU into the FPGA, significant uncommited
integration around the MPU is available. If sales justify, a further
cost reduction occurs when the logic and program are committed to masks.
Basically, the starting point is a higher level of integration which
makes the transition to an ASIC easier and cheaper.
From what I can see, for consumer products with significant market,
there is no reason to drop all the way back to the jelly bean phase for
logic development. Mixed signal is the area where difficulty exists.
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons firstname.lastname@example.org
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