It seems that ATMEL do not want to limit the AVR branch with 20MIPS AVR microcontrollers. Recently they introduced new AVR microcontroller family – XMEGA – which is still based on AVR core but has a higher performance along with low power feature. AVR microcontrollers are really optimal where high performance is needed with relatively low code size. Probably XMEGA microcontrollers will fill the gap between standard AVRs and AVR32 microcontrollers.
XMEGA microcontrollers are featured with:
- 2nd generation picoPower technology;
- faster and innovative inter-peripheral communication;
- 4 channel DMA controller;
- Real Time Clock;
- 8 Event System channels;
- fast 12-bit and DAC;
- Cryptography support for AES and DES.
XMEGA can be powered in a same way as standard AVR from 1.6V and can give up to 32MIPS performance when clocked at 32MHz. Flash memory ranges from 16 to 384kB and are packed to 44-100 pin packages. XMEGA can be used anywhere as general purpose microcontrollers where AVR microcontroller performance boost is needed. Niches may be audio systems, ZigBee, power tools, medical, boar controllers, networking, and other battery powered products.
XMEGA comes with innovative Event System where inter-peripheral communications may be performed without CPU or DMA usage. This way CPU can guarantee shorter response time. Event System allows up to 8 simultaneous events or interrupts to trigger actions in other peripherals.
High-speed 12-bit ADC and DAC
Another great improvement is high speed 12-bit ADC and DAC. ADC can operate at 2MSPS speed. DAC can guarantee up to 1MSPS. Analog part also is featured with four advanced analog comparators.
XMEGA is featured with four channel DMA Controller which enables fast and CPU independent data transfers. DMA can be used to transfer data between all data memories and peripherals.
Compatibility and tools
XMEGA microcontrollers are based on same instruction set as standard AVR microcontrollers so code can be reused for older AVRs as AVR cores are 100% compatible. Also no problem with existing tool-chains and compilers as they may be used in same way as for all AVR microcontrollers.
I would say – great news to AVR fans. I am now anxious to try the power of 32MIPS and other new features.