Until recently, embedded processing fell into two distinct camps based on the
necessity of the design. Situations calling for affordable and flexible
usability would rely on microcontrollers (MCUs). Designs that exceeded the
capacity of an MCU would instead use an applications processor.
Designers and manufacturers have typically made do with one solution or the
other. But trends of demand—a new and unique set of hybrid
needs—have created an opening in the embedded market, between the two
existing product spaces. Product designers increasingly need efficient,
high-performance embedded processors with better display capabilities and
increased data processing power and usability—without increasing costs
and power consumption.
NXP’s unique position—as a maker of both advanced
applications processors and MCUs—offers us some unique advantages when
it comes to designing across these two disparate product groups. Our new
i.MX RT series (based on the ARM® Cortex®-M core) introduces
our take on this new class of crossover processing—bridging the gap
between performance and usability for the industrial and consumer markets.
The i.MX RT series operates at a core speed of 600 MHz (as
opposed to the competing solutions’ maximum speed of 400 MHz). This is
the highest performing Cortex-M7 solution available—delivering 3015
CoreMark/1284 DMIPS. Comparatively speaking, that’s:
- More than 50% higher than any other Cortex-M7 products
- More than 100% higher than general market Cortex-A5 products
- More than 250% faster than existing Cortex-M4 products
2x Battery Life
The i.MX RT series enables low dynamic power consumption through features such
as a fully integrated -Power Management Controller with a DC-DC converter and
efficient power gating. They operate on half the run mode power of other
Cortex-M7 products—as low as 110uA/MHz. When operating
in low-power run mode (24MHz) they ultilize an impressively modest 4.5mA of
energy. These features can help to effectively
extend a product’s battery life.
Offering a highly integrated Cortex-M7 processor, the i.MX RT series lets MCU
customers explore designs that include multimedia for
advanced GUI and enhanced human machine interface (HMI). These processors also
support greater design flexibility through extensive external
memory interface options, including NAND, eMMC, QuadSPI NOR Flash and Parallel
In terms of connectivity, i.MX RT products offer support for
wireless standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, Thread and other
options. They utilize an extensive array of peripherals found within our i.MX
i.MX RT processors also integrate a high degree of security
enabled by 128-bit AES Cryptography and True Random Number Generator (TRNG),
high assurance booting (HAB), and on-the-fly QSPI flash decryption.
2x Faster Development
i.MX RT series of crossover processors will help product designers increase
their performance, add more features and simultaneously lower BOM costs.
They’ll also help MCU customers move up to MPU-level performance while
maintaining their current tool chain (MCUXpresso, IAR, Keil)—and without the time, cost, or complexity of adding Linux software
development to their design cycle.
Rapid prototyping and development can be achieved with ease
with NXP FreeRTOS, SDK, Arm mbed and the global Arm ecosystem which provide
software libraries, online tools and support. You can also accelerate
development using our low-cost evaluation kit (EVK), compatible with
Arduino™ hardware shields.
Half the Cost
The i.MX RT line also combines the most functionality with the lowest price
for a Cortex®-M7 solution on the market (at less than $3.00 USD for 10K
quantity). It uses an affordable 10×10 BGA package with .65mm pitch
enabling low-cost four-layer PCB design.
It also eliminates the need for expensive infrastructure. For example, the
integrated PMIC with DC-DC converter removes the need for an external power
supply. In addition, 512KB of on-chip SRAM means that external D-RAM can be
eliminated from materials expenses.