Competition in the monolithic data-converter arena intensified again this year, as some vendors attempted to one-up each other with analog-to-digital (A/D) and digital-to-analog (D/A) converters that offer more on-chip functionality. Other suppliers attempted to differentiate themselves by focusing on specific market niches. There are no signs the trend will lessen in the months ahead.
Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, Mass.), for example, unveiled its ADuC824 MicroConverter that combines two high-resolution A/D converters with a temperature sensor, programmable gain amplifier, 12-bit D/A converter, 8-bit microcontroller, flash memory, RAM and serial ports. It's all in a 52-pin plastic quad flat pack.
Meanwhile, Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.), a leading supplier of microcontrollers that entered the A/D converter business this year, combined its 8-bit MCU core with a 10-bit or 12-bit A/D converter for its PIC16C717/770/771 family.
Cirrus Logic Inc. (Fremont, Calif.) and others pursed a market-niche strategy by taking aim at charge-coupled-device digital still cameras. Cirrus' CS7620 analog front end was de-veloped with help from IBM and Polaroid. Cirrus also unveiled the CS5460 A/D converter for digital power-meter applications and the CS4397 SuperDAC, which supports both DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD formats.
The communications market has continued to command attention. Palm Bay, Fla.-based Intersil Corp. (formerly Harris Semiconductor) introduced the CommLink family of CMOS D/A converters, A/D converters and programmable digital radio devices, all for communications applications. The line includes 8-,10-, 12- and 14-bit single- and dual-channel D/A converters with update rates from 60 Msamples per second to 125 Msamples/s.
Philips' (Sunnyvale, Calif.) TDA8768 bipolar 12-bit A/D converter is targeted at wireless basestations but is also said to be suitable for HDTV video and imaging. The part samples at 55 Msamples/s and offers TTL- and CMOS-compatible static digital inputs and CMOS-compatible outputs.
National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, Calif.) introduced the CLC5958, a 14-bit, 52-Msample/s A/D converter for wireless applications. It offers a spurious-free dynamic range of 90 dB and a signal-to-noise ratio of 71 dB at an input frequency of 20 MHz. That capability, National said, gives it sufficient dynamic range to accommodate multicarrier receivers that have large and small signals present at the same time.
Texas Instruments continued to focus on devices that support its DSP business. TI said its THS1206 was the first DSP-optimized A/D converter with first-in, first-out memory. It also introduced the THS8133 and the THS8134, 10- and 8-bit triple D/A converters for high-definition TV set-top boxes.
Burr-Brown (Tucson, Ariz.) introduced what it said was the smallest 16-bit A/D converter, the ADS8320, in an 8-pin MSOP. It said the part requires only 1.8 mW when sampling at 100 kHz and less than 0.3 mW at 10 kHz.
Signal Processing Technologies Inc. (Colorado Springs, Colo.) claims its SPT7935 was the first 3-V high-speed A/D converter. It's a 12-bit, 20-Msample/s device with 79-mW power dissipation.
Linear Technology Corp. (Milpitas, Calif.) offered the LTC2400, which it said is both the most accurate (less than 10 parts per million total unadjusted error) and the smallest (in an SO-8 package) 24-bit A/D converter. Later, LTC introduced the LTC2408, an 8-channel, 24-bit A/D converter with single-cycle settling time and total unadjusted error of less than 10 parts per million.
Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, Calif.) added three 8-bit A/D converters, the MAX104, MAX106 and MAX108, with sampling speeds of 1Gsample/s, 600 Msamples/s and 1.5Gsamples/s , respectively.