Atmel claims lowest-power ARM Cortex-A5 IC, cites security features

September 15, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Atmel's series of Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-A5-based microprocessors (MPUs) claim the lowest power consumption for all MPUs in their class, with sub-200 µA draw in retention mode with context preserved, 30 µsec ultra-fast wake-up and a new backup mode with DDR in self-refresh at 50 µA.

The Atmel | SMART SAMA5D2 series provides system integration with the addition of a complete audio subsystem, lower pin-count and ultra-small package for space-constrained applications, and built-in PCI-level security targeting industrial Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and point of sale (POS) applications.

Atmel configured these devicesfor applications requiring an entry-level MPU and extended industrial temperature range (-40 to 105°C ambient temperature), and to provide a migration path for designers using ARM926-based MPUs looking for higher performance and additional features including low power, higher security, DDR3 support, smaller footprint, audio, USB HSIC and Atmel's SleepWalking technology.

Featuring an ARM NEON engine, the SAMA5D2 series delivers 500 MHz and 166 MHz of system clocking. The memory system includes a configurable 16- or 32-bit DDR interface controller, 16-bit external bus interface (EBI), QSPI Flash interface, ROM with secure and non-secure boot solution, 128 kB of SRAM plus 128 kB of L2Cache configurable as SRAM extension. The user interface system for the SAMA5D2 includes a 24-bit TFT LCD controller, an audio subsystem with fractional PLL, multiple I²S and SSC/TDM channels, a stereo class D amplifier and Digital microphone support.

The security system in the new SAMA5D2 includes the ARM TrustZone technology, along with secure boot, hardware cryptography, RSA/ECC, on-the-fly encryption/decryption on DDR and QSPI memories, tamper resistance, memory scrambling, independent watchdog, temperature, voltage and frequency monitoring and a unique ID in each device.

Atmel has developed a free Linux distribution available on and published in the mainline kernel. For non-operating system (OS) users, Atmel delivers more than 40 peripheral drivers in C. Atmel collaborates with a global network of partners, including IAR, ARM, Free Electrons, Active-Semi, Micron, ISSI, Winbond, Segger, Lauterbach, FreeRTOS, Express Logic, NuttX and Sequitur Labs, that deliver development tools, PMIC, memories and software solutions.

The SAMA5 Xplained Ultra kit is available now for $79. The Xplained Ultra board includes an embedded debugger and programmer and includes a wide range of