The folks at Energy Micro, who cheerfully bill themselves as "The energy friendly microcontroller and radio company," have announced that in an evaluation using IAR Systems’ tools, Energy Micro’s 32-bit EFM32 Gecko microcontroller has demonstrated the industry’s best CoreMark number for a device based on the feature-rich ARM Cortex-M3 core.
The EFMTG840F32 achieved a score of 15.4 CoreMark/mA using IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM version 6.40. This is over 20% more efficient in active mode than even the Cortex-M0+ devices (a less powerful processor) recently launched by a major semiconductor company. The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC), a non-profit organisation founded in 1997, developed CoreMark processor benchmarking to enable real-world performance comparisons between different microcontrollers and processors.
The EFM32 Gecko’s performance benefited from compiler improvements in version 6.40 of IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM. This supports Energy Micro’s assertion that it’s a combination of code optimization matched to energy-friendly sleep modes that delivers the lowest possible system energy consumption, rather than slower processing.
Additionally, Gecko technology enables EFM32 MCU peripherals to communicate without using the CPU, further enabling the processor to remain in deep sleep for longer. The EFM32 wake up time is then just 2µs, making it fast and efficient to switch into active mode, process data then go back to sleep.
IAR Systems’ Strategic Account Manager, Mike Skrtic, said, “IAR Systems is glad to see that customers can benefit from our significant work on code optimization. In performance terms, the EFM32 Gecko family scores 2.93 CoreMark/MHz, giving designers unprecedented speed from a very energy-efficient MCU platform.”
Energy Micro has always recognized the importance of code optimization in reducing energy consumption. The company’s Øyvind Grotmol, VP of Simplicity commented, “Our energyAware Profiler, part of the Simplicity Studio suite of tools, is an energy debugging tool that uses advanced energy monitoring data for real-time profiling and debugging of object code to minimize consumption. It’s great to be working with a partner like IAR Systems that has the expertise to help us keep EFM32 Gecko customers in the forefront of low energy, high performance processing for their systems.”
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