STMicroelectronics has introduced a new series of microcontrollers (MCUs) that the company claims are the world's most powerful: the STM32 F4 series. This extension to the STM32 platform is based on the latest ARMCortex-M4 core, which adds signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the company's portfolio of STM32 microcontrollers. The company states that the new series is the highest-performance Cortex-M processor-based MCU range in the market.
The single-cycle DSP instructions of the STM32 F4 open the doors to the digital signal controller (DSC) market that requires high computational capability and DSP instructions for demanding applications such as high-end motor control, medical equipment and security. The STM31 F4 series is full pin-to-pin and software compatible with the STM32 F2 series, but with more SRAM, higher performance, and a robust collection of peripherals. The F4 series will enable customers designing with the STM32 F2 MCUs to offer product extensions by upgrading to the F4 series if they need more memory, performance, or features. In addition, customers currently using a 2-chip MCU and DSP approach can now combine both chips in one high-performance digital signal controller.
The F4s operates at a 168 MHz, offers single-cycle DSP instruction support and a Floating Point Unit, 192 Kbytes of SRAM, 1 Mbyte of embedded flash memory, and advanced peripherals for imaging, connectivity, and encryption. STís 90nm CMOS process technology and the integrated ST Adaptive Real Time ART Accelerator deliver state-of-the-art performance, with zero-wait-state program execution up to 168 MHz and best-in-class dynamic power, according to the company.
Ultra-fast data transfers, with a 7-layer multi-AHB bus matrix and multi-DMA controllers, which allow concurrent execution and data transfers
The integrated single-precision FPU boosts the execution of control algorithms, adds more features to applications, improves code efficiency, reduces time-to-market, eliminates scaling and saturation, and allows the use of meta-language tools
High integration, with up to 1 Mbyte of on-chip Flash memory, 192 Kbytes of SRAM, reset circuit, internal RCs, PLLs, sub 1microAmp real-time clock with sub-second accuracy;
Extra flexibility to reduce power consumption in applications requiring both high processing power and low-power performance when running at low voltage or on rechargeable batteries. These include 4 Kbytes of backup SRAM to save data in standby or battery backup modes, a typical RTC consumption of <1uA in Vbat mode, and an internal voltage regulator with power scaling capability, allowing the selection of performance or lower consumption;
A tool and software ecosystem that offers Integrated Development Environments, Meta-language tools, a DSP library, inexpensive starter kits, software libraries and stack
Connectivity: Camera interface, Crypto/Hash HW processor, Ethernet MAC10/100 with IEEE 1588 v2 support, two USB OTG (one with HS support)
Audio: dedicated audio PLL and two full duplex I2S
Up to 15 communication interfaces (including six USARTs running up to 10.5 Mbits/s, three SPI running up to 42 Mbits/s, three I2C, two CAN, SDIO)
Analog: Two 12-bit DACs, three 12-bit ADCs reaching 2.4 MSPS or 7.2 MSPS in interleaved mode;
Up to 17 timers: 16-bit and 32-bit running up to 168 MHz;
The STM32 F4 Series is available in four variants:
STM32F405x: in addition to a complete set of advanced peripherals including timers, three ADCs, two DACs, serial interfaces, external memory interface, RTC, CRC calculation unit and analog true Random Number Generator, the STM32F405 products have a USB On-The-Go (OTG) full-speed/high-speed interface. They are available in four packages (WLCSP64, LQFP64, LQFP100, LQFP144) with 1 Mbyte of Flash.
STM32F407 products add several advanced peripherals to the ones offered on the STM32F405 products: a second USB OTG interface (full-speed only); an integrated Ethernet MAC 10/100 supporting both MII and RMII, with IEEE1588 Precise Time Protocol v2 Hardware support and an 8- to 14-bit parallel camera interface allowing the connection of a CMOS camera sensor, supporting up to 67.2 Mbytes/s. Devices are available in four packages (LQFP100, LQFP144, LQFP/BGA176), with from 512 Kbytes to 1 Mbyte of Flash.
The STM32F415 and STM32F417 parts add a crypto/hash processor to the STM32F405 and STM32F407. This crypto/hash processor includes hardware acceleration for AES 128, 192, 256, Triple DES, HASH (MD5, SHA-1). As an example of the performance achieved by the crypto/hash processor, the AES-256 encryption throughput reaches up to 149.33 Mbytes/s.
All variations are in volume production, with prices beginning from $5.74 for the STM32F407VET6 with 512 Kbytes of Flash and 192 Kbytes RAM in the LQFP100 package, for orders of more than 1,000 units.