Capping off a week of continued wafer fab closings, layoffs and restructuring moves by several electronics vendors, engineers can now turn to Editors' Choice to view our top product selections that offer a silver lining in a bleak market. Check out these key products, many of which emerged from the logic/interface sector.
Industrial motor control kit with 32-bit MCU
Steve Bitton, technology analyst for TechInsights and editor of Industrial Control DesignLine, is a big fan of development kits that help solve specific design problems. He says that there are a few out there right now that do a good job of helping designers with motor control. However, Fujitsu's motor control starter kit equipped with source code to support development with the MB91F479 32-bit RISC microcontroller for industrial motor control applications, is one that can.
"What sets the newest kit from Fujitsu apart is that it provides all the OrCAD design files and the BOM for the provided boards. This can give a designer a head start on putting their final PCB together as they have schematic and layout files to start from, and a recommended parts list for the circuitry around the MCU and motor," Bitton said.
Driving to 100G Ethernet
Another interesting product came out of InPHi Corp., which joined the ranks of companies releasing enabling components for the shift to 40 and 100 Gbit/second Ethernet, said Rick Merritt, Computing, Medical Devices Editor, at EETimes.
"Although the IEEE standards are not yet finished, key components are already hitting the market," Merritt said.
InPhi's contribution is the 2811DZ, a 28 Gbit/s differential Mach-Zehnder modulator driver. Merritt pointed out that it can power a wide variety of 40G modulators and comes in a 7x7mm surface mount QFN package, reducing the size and cost of transpoders.
AMCC rolls advanced 10GbE devices
It's hard to ignore Applied Micro Circuits Corp's launch of Yahara, a series of framer/mapper/PHY devices for next generation optical network physical layer solutions supporting 10-Gigabit Ethernet, Metro, and Long Haul network applications. As carrier service providers continue their migration away from traditional SONET/SDH based services to lower cost 10G optical services, these parts enable telecom OEMs build flexible and cost-effective platforms to map very large volumes of Ethernet traffic directly onto optical transport networks. These highly integrated parts eliminate the need for various external phys and interface bridge devices, helping to reduce space, cost and power.
DisplayPort receiver aims to replace LVDS in notebooks
Also worth noting is Chrontel's latest DisplayPort receiver chip that is designed to help accelerate the notebook industry's move from the LVDS video interface standard to DisplayPort. The part satisfies DisplayPort specification version 1.1a, and supports 1440x900 display resolutions with 8-bit color depth, and 1680x1050 resolutions with 6-bit color depth, all at 60Hz refresh rates. The best part is the price: just $1.60 each in 10,000 piece quantities.
14-bit converter performs direct digital synthesis for RF signals to 3.6 GHz
Analog Devices just keeps on pouring advanced RF chips into the market. Its latest product is a pair of 14-bit DACs that features its proprietary Mix-Mode super-Nyquist architecture, which supports high-fidelity digital synthesis of RF signals up to 3.6 GHz.
Planet Analog editor Bill Schweber says these devices provide "the critical performance for [direct digital synthesis] DDS, a tough application that the industry is striving to make mainstream."
OR'ing controller increases reliability of shared power systems
In the power management chip sector, Diodes has developed an OR'ing controller that allows designers to replace diodes with MOSFETs. According to Nic Mokhoff, Design + Products section editor at EETimes, Schottky blocking diodes, traditionally used to protect a load from faulty power supplies, have high heat dissipation, which directly relates to their inherent 500mV forward voltage drop.
"Replacing the diodes with low on-resistance MOSFETs, with typical voltage drops of under 100 mV, greatly reduces system power dissipation. The ZXGD3102 meets that spec," Mokhoff said. Mokhoff is also editor of Techinsights' Power Management Design Line and EDA Design Line.
Parallel C-C++ static code analyzer for OpenMP released
Bernard Cole, an editor with www.embedded.com selected OOO Program Verification Systems' Version 1.0 of its VivaMP static code C/C++ analyzer. Cole argues that it is difficult to easily parallize sequential C and C++ code in multicore applications, particularly beyond three or four cores. As a result, embedded developers have been turning to the use of the OpenMP API extensions to allow them to adapt their sequential code for use on multicore designs, he said.
The OpenMP (Open Multi-Processing) spec is an application programming interface (API) that supports multi-platform shared memory multiprocessing programming in C, C++ and Fortran on many architectures, including Unix and Microsoft Windows platforms. It consists of a set of compiler directives, library routines, and environment variables that influence run-time behavior.
"The problem is that traditional static code analysis tools are designed for sequential C and C++ code and not readily useable for programs with Open MP extensions. This program is the first available commercial tool I have seen that fills in that gap," Cole said.