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AMCC readies low-cost, Linux-capable industrial SoC

Apr 3, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

AMCC will sample a low-power, high-performance SoC (system-on-chip) targeting networked industrial computing applications, in Q4 of this year. The 100-400MHz PPC405EZ will support complete operating systems “such as Linux,” AMCC says, and will feature 64-bit buses, onboard SRAM, a highly configurable timer, analog I/O, and versatile networking options.

AMCC says that traditional industrial processors are increasingly constrained by 32-bit wide system buses, external DRAM, and an “80MHz limitation” of integrated flash memory, causing them to struggle when burdened with networked communications, sophisticated processing algorithms, and/or “more complete operating systems, such as Linux.” The 405EZ processor integrates a 64-bit system bus, and in place of on-chip flash and external DRAM, integrates 32KB of SRAM and an external memory controller, with arbitration, that supports CellularRAM and flash PSRAM (pseudostatic random access memory).

Additionally, the PowerPC 405EZ processor will feature a 15-channel “Chameleon” timer and PWM (pulse-width modulation) controller said to let designers mimic or construct “virtually any type of timer architecture” without DSP programming expertise. AMCC says the timer and PWM controller can offload the CPU and minimize software involvement in complex, deterministic timing functions, such as PWM and space vector PWM functions with non-overlap times, quadrature encoder sensing and control, programmable “deadband” intervals, pulse period measurement, 48-bit input capture function, 48-bit output compare function, and IEEE1588 timestamps.

The 405EZ's peripherals will include:

  • 10/100 Ethernet port with integrated IEEE1588 controller
  • 3 x USB 1.1/2.0 Full Speed compatible ports with integrated PHYs
  • 2 x CAN 2.0b ports
  • 8-input 10-bit ADC
  • 10-bit DAC

AMCC says its 405EZ processor can be used in low-cost systems consisting of as little as the 405EZ processor, an SPI boot device, and a single 33-50MHz oscillator. Such a configuration might consume as little as 0.6 Watts, according to the company. Running Linux on the chip requires additional external memory.

Brian Wilkie, VP of AMCC's integrated communcations processor unit, stated, “Newer networked systems are requiring faster speeds, greater flexibility utilizing buses, optimized external memories, and more configurability in their timers.”


The AMCC PPC405EZ is expected to sample in Q4, 2006, along with an evaluation kit. When the chip reaches production, pricing is expected to be $15 in 10K quantities for a 133MHz part supporting “industrial” operating temperatures between -40 and +85C.

The 405EZ will be packaged in 324-pin 23 mm x 23 mm EPGA with a “roomy” 1 mm ball pitch said to allow inexpensive, reliable printed circuit board layouts that avoid “blind vias.”

An extended temperature version supporting -40 C to +105 C operation is also planned.

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