DALLAS -- Dallas Semiconductor here has rolled out a new high-speed 8051-compatible microcontroller, capable of achieving peak processing performance of 50 million instructions per second (MIPS) running at a maximum clock speed of 50 MHz.
According to the Dallas-based chip maker, the new 8-bit DS89C420 is the result of two major improvements to the 8051 architecture. The first reduces the number of clock cycles per machine instruction from 12 to 4 and the second change requires a single clock cycle for many instructions, said Frank Taylor, Dallas Semiconductor's microcontroller product manager.
"This performance increase enables our 8051 design to more than meet the challenge from RISC chips, which reduce the program instruction set to achieve speed," Taylor explained. "It potentially takes several RISC instructions to achieve the same result as one 8051 instruction."
The DS89C420 features 16 kilobytes of flash memory, which enables in-system, in-application or standard parallel programming.
The new device is also pin- and instruction-set compatible with existing 8051-based systems used in a wide range of control and interface functions for computer sub-systems and peripherals, household appliances, data and communications equipment, and other commercial equipment.
The company reports that its the combination of in-system flash programming technique with an industry-standard pinout, enables the DS89C420 MCU to be assembled and shipped unprogrammed inside end-equipment. The systems can then be programmed on-site for application-specific purposes, suggested Dallas Semiconductor.
Other resources of the new device include two data pointers that can be used to move blocks of data both forwards and backwards, as well as 13 interrupt sources with five priority levels instead of three, three 16-bit timer/counters and a watchdog timer.
In addition, an internal clock divider circuit enables power management mode, where the DS89C420 selects a processing speed based on software input and maintains all processes at lower power states without shutting down.
Dallas Semiconductor also noted that most software written for existing 8051-based systems will work with the DS89C420, with the exception of critical timing routines.
The 89C420 is available in sample quantities with full production is slated for January 2001. The 8-bit microcontroller will be priced at $10.10 each in quantities of 25,000.