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ARM's low end undercut by Andes core

Small player growing quickly
4/17/2013 04:01 PM EDT
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rick merritt
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
rick merritt   4/18/2013 2:13:35 AM
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Any Andes users out there? Weigh in on what you think of the new kid on the block.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
Patrick Van Oosterwijck   4/18/2013 3:44:21 PM
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Looks great! It's a good thing to heat up the competition. ARM makes good cores but too many engineers (or their managers) put too much emphasis on "wanting an ARM core". Truth is that with different peripheral sets between ARM chips and compilers taking care of differences between cores, there really isn't much difference between porting code from one ARM chip to another and porting code from an ARM chip to another core, at least for RTOS and bare metal systems that these smaller cores tend to be used for.

Robotics Developer
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
Robotics Developer   4/19/2013 12:16:53 AM
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I learned of a new core today with this article and was surprised! I thought I knew most of the players but I have to confess to not even knowing anything about Andes until reading about it here. It is nice to be surprised (once in awhile anyway). Thanks for bringing me up to speed!

CC VanDorne
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
CC VanDorne   4/19/2013 3:40:15 PM
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This will help 32-bit MCUs take more 8-bit marketshare. That leads to an obvious question: How's Microchip doing these days?

fmotta
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
fmotta   4/19/2013 3:55:47 PM
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To have a look at their website it appears that they still thinking larger lithography by using clock gating. I do not see power gating mentioned which seems to say that they have not gotten to the current technology in their IP. As anyone who evaluates CPU core technology or chip/SoCs knows it will be difficult for anyone to build the ecosystem needed to challenge ARM (well unless they are Intel). So, I look forward to seeing Andes replace the 8bit systems which can reduce much of strain on those low end chips I cannot be certain that it will replace ARM in the nearer term (unless ARM chooses to ignore the challenge or EOL some current products).

TarraTarra!
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
TarraTarra!   4/19/2013 4:50:12 PM
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In the very low end MCUs where this will get used, it is more than just the CPU - it is the subsytem around it including interrupts, low power features, interface to embedded flash and the software tool chain and ecosystem. ARM is hard to beat in this area. The only advantage as Linley points out to Andes it the cost. This will keep ARM honest and that is always good for the market.

Jiwon.Kim
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
Jiwon.Kim   4/20/2013 12:46:06 AM
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I'm heavy ARM user, but I think the success key is the easiness to understand then to use, and the price. We already have many option about performance, power and extendability to choose core, not saying only ARM. Old engineers tend to use their favorite core. Almost young engineers like new cores, normally student. So Easiness. And they should survive until these young engineers grow up. So Price. I think ARM Cortex series is already too complex, even for M series.

DMcCunney
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
DMcCunney   4/20/2013 2:52:14 PM
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The key part for me was “Given what ARM is charging, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could cut your costs in half or more” As usual, it's about the money. The Andes core can be had for less in licensing costs than an equivalent ARM core, and there are relentless cost pressures in the semi-conductor market. Is the Andes core as good as ARM? It doesn't matter. The proper question is "Is it good *enough* for the job to which it will be applied?". It appears an assortment of customers think it is. I don't see ARM exactly quaking in their boots. They have a commanding position in various segments of the market, so their question will likely be "Do we cut licensing costs to preserve and possibly extend market share?" That will depend upon what they believe the net effect on revenues and profits will be from doing it.

eewiz
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
eewiz   4/21/2013 11:40:52 AM
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“Given what ARM is charging, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could cut your costs in half or more” using the Andes cores, said Linley Gwennap, principal of market watcher The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.). hmm.. how much is ARM charging per chip.. IINW, the royalties are less than 1~2% which I feel is pretty low already.

rick merritt
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
rick merritt   4/22/2013 2:55:29 PM
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Good question. I am all ears for anyone who cares to share ARM and Andes pricing information.

Duane Benson
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
Duane Benson   4/22/2013 4:05:03 PM
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My first thought was that if an ARM Cortex M0 can be purchased for under a dollar in quantity, there's not a lot of room for undercutting. But then I thought more about the "Internet of Things." When connected embedded systems are being added to products that sell retail for, say $10.00, the difference between $0.80 and $0.40 starts to matter. When building an embedded system into something half that retail price, that same difference will likely be the determinant factor as to possible or impossible. I'm real interested in seeing where Andes prices their MCUs.

John Cooper
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
John Cooper   4/22/2013 6:48:37 PM
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To Duane: you can get Cortex-M0/M0+ based MCU now for much less than 0.50$ from NXP (LPC800), Freescale (KL series), ST (STM32F0). Even Infineon announced on Embedded World 0.25EUR for their XMC1000. There is not so much gap to go lower ;-)!

John Cooper
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
John Cooper   4/22/2013 7:22:18 PM
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Cost, cost, cost.... then code-density will be even more key than licensing cost. I suspect a couple of kB of extra on-chip memory will quickly erase the 1-2% of royalties metionned above by Eewiz. Andes seems to be the only provider of tools for his processor, can the code size be really be as optimizied as the one of the big names like IAR, Green-Hills and all the others that compete for the Cortex family? BTW, I find it weak to resume the story about "better DMIPS and lower cost". It's no secret it is easy to tweak DMIPS (which version?, inlining on?) and cost will be surely be all about negociation. Now please Mr Journalists and Analysts, what about real investigation on what is really important for deep embedded systems? * certified "difficult to tweak" CoreMark? * what about interrupt latency or nesting? * extra debug goodies like trace? * what about family concept and compatibility with the other Andes processors? Please don't treat embedded topics as you would cover apps processors. Catchy title is always good, content is even better ;-)!

chanj0
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
chanj0   4/23/2013 7:45:39 AM
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This is a very interesting core. I am keen to learn more about it. I'm quite surprise that there are only bluetooth controller's and touchscreen controller's vendors interested.

przemek0
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re: ARM's low end undercut by Andes core
przemek0   6/11/2013 7:35:17 PM
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Considering that there are free cores available, Andes has to offer a compelling value, presumably in system integration, peripherals, software tools and other ecosystem facilities. It'd be interesting to see how well they'll succeed in that---Far Eastern companies do not yet have a big track record in creating open communities and ecosystems.

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