Microchip Technology has formed a new division to design and sell a combined 16bit microcontroller and digital signal processor (DSP).
Calling it a digital signal controller (DSC) Frank Monaco, business development manager for the new division, claimed that its approach would provide a simpler development model and would not lose the interrupt responsiveness of a microcontroller.
"This is not just adding a MAC [multiply-accumulate unit] to an existing architecture. It has a full complement of DSP functions and has been designed from the ground up,"
Although the company does not intend to release full architectural details, Monaco confirmed that members of the dsPIC30 would have MAC, barrel shifting and dedicated address generation units, similar to existing DSPs.
As a microcontroller, Monaco said the device would be about twice as fast as an Hitachi H8S, another 16bit design.
In common with other microcontrollers aimed at the industrial, motion-control and white-goods sectors, Monaco said the dsPIC30 would have a TCP/IP stack ported to it. To support encryption operations, members of the family are likely to have bit-level operations.
The instruction set is expected to follow that of the PIC18, with the addition of the DSP operations. Monaco said the interrupt system would be enhanced to allow the DSP units to be interrupted as well as those microcontroller but that it would be possible to maintain DSP state while an interrupt is taken. That would help reduce the amount of data that would need to be saved before servicing an interrupt.
First silicon is expected in Q3 or Q4 of next year with full production in 2002.