On Tuesday (Feb. 3) Dolphin Integration SA of Meylan, France will launch a 16-bit silicon IP microcontroller said to be fully binary code compatible with 8-bit 80C51 architectures.
Called Flip (for FLexible Intellectual Property) 80251 "Typhoon" the virtual component is an accelerated version of the Intel C251 microcontroller. It is, Dolphin says, 100 percent compatible upward with the legacy 8-bit 80C251 when running in source mode. Its enhanced pipelined architecture allows single cycle execution for most of the instruction set, resulting in much greater speed: the company claims 2-times faster than the legacy Intel 80C251 and up to 30-times faster on average compared to the classic 80C51 when running in source mode.
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The Typhoon allows up to 8Mb of program memory and 8 Mb of data memory. Its architecture is register-based with registers accessible as bytes, words and double words for speeding up application programs.
The MCU includes hardware wait states for interfacing with asynchronous peripherals and low cost memories and it features reduced power modes (Idle and Power-down). Configurable features/peripherals available for the Flip80251 Typhoon include up to 3 timers/counters, a watchdog timer, a programmable counter array, SPI, I2C, HDLC and PWM.
According to the company the 16-bit architecture can provide significant code size reduction when compiling C programs, while fully preserving assembly code written for 80C51 microcontrollers. Results based on Dhrystone v1.1 benchmarks yield a code density smaller by a factor of two when comparing the Flip80251 Typhoon (2,612 Bytes) and the 80C51 (5,197 bytes), the company reports.
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In support of the product Keil Software of Grasbrunn, Germany has announced simulation support in the form of its Vision2 IDE/Simulator. Dolphin says the Flip80251 Typhoon also integrates seamlessly with Keil's PK251 Professional Developer's Kit which includes the Vision2 (IDE) with its Simulator/Debugger, C compiler, assembler, linker and RTOS.
"We are quite happy to support the enhanced 80251 architecture developed by Dolphin after our early investment in Intel's original 16-bit architecture," says Reinhard Keil, CEO of Keil Software. "The end of manufacturing by Intel was reasonable at the IC level, but it retrieves its full potential as (a) virtual component for SoC design".
Flip80251 Typhoon also benefits from Raisonance's XsmartICE-duo for dual-use emulation, both for intermediate debug on FPGA (prototyping board), and for final checks of the microcontroller, once in layout for embedding in the SoC.
"This renewal with the pipelined architecture from DOLPHIN should be appealing to the numerous developers and users still benefiting from the 8051", says Francis Lamotte, CEO of Raisonance, "and it should revive competition for low-power solutions unduly burdened by 32-bitters".
Flip80251 Typhoon is being positioned as a credible alternative to more expensive 32-bit architectures for SmartCards and other applications. It is available in both soft (VHDL or Verilog synthesizable RTL) and firm (Xilinx or Altera synthesized netlist) formats, per the VSIA standard.
For more technical information and a downloadable datasheet of the Flip80251 Typhoon click here.