Atmel’s (Nasdaq: ATML) new CAP7 customizable microcontroller is architecturally compatible with Atmel’s broad range of off-the-shelf ARM7-based MCUs and incorporates metal programmable cell fabric (MPCF) technology to integrate up to 450K equivalent ASIC gates in a metal programmable block for custom logic netlist conversion. Atmel’s flexible design flow allows an easy conversion path from FPGA netlist to the metal programmable block.
By eliminating an external FPGA, Atmel’s customizable microcontrollers can reduce IC costs by at least 50%. For example, in medium volumes (50K units), a 1 to 2M gate FPGA and ARM7 MCU, 2-chip solution, market price is between $13 and $20. With unit prices under $6, CAP7 can cut the cost by more than half. In addition, with an 80MHz CAP7, designers can double performance and reduce power consumption by 90%, compared to 1 to 2 watt FPGA solutions.
The initial CAP7 product release includes the AT91CAP7S, based on the ARM7TDMI(R) processor core. The AT91CAP7S has 160K bytes of on-chip fast SRAM and either a 250K or 450K block of metal programmable ASIC gates. Peripherals include USB device, 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. Additional peripherals from Atmel’s extensive IP library or customer IP may be instantiated in the MP block.
There is a one-time charge of US $150,000 for design, mask fees, and prototypes. The CAP7 is available now for design. The AT91CAP7S250 in a 144 pin LQFP package is priced at US $5.44 for 50K unit quantities.