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Low-cost SoC fits Linux in cramped quarters

Jun 4, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Atmel has introduced a new low-cost model in its AP7000-series of high-efficiency SoCs (system-on-chip processors) designed to run Linux. The AT32AP7001 comes with a Linux port and tools, and targets low-cost, four-layer circuit boards used in printers, fax machines, surveillance cameras, audio processing, and industrial control equipment.

Atmel launched its AP7000 SoC line about a year ago. The chips are based on a 32-bit RISC-based AVR32 core said to have been designed from the outset for efficiency, with single-cycle load/store instructions and high code density. The new AT327001 chip is based on the AP7 (application processor) version of the AVR32 core, and thus has built-in DSP (digital signal processor) and SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) instructions. It also offers branch prediction and an MMU (memory management unit).

Atmel AT32AP7001 function diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Clocked at 150MHz, the AT327001 SoC draws 75mA of 1.8Volt power, and delivers 210 Dhrystone v2.1 MIPS (millions of instructions per second). On-chip peripherals include:

  • BT 656 compliant camera interface
  • 3 x full duplex IIS audio channels
  • AC97 interface
  • Built-in 2-channel 16-bit audio bitstream DAC
  • Hi-Speed (480 Mb/s) USB device interface with 7 endpoints
  • Dual-port MMC/SD card interface
  • 4 x USARTS
  • 2 x SPI interfaces
  • Two-wire interface (I2C compatible)
  • “Up to 90” digital I/O lines

The new AT32AP7001 chip was “built to run Linux,” Atmel said, and is supplied with a free, supported OS port and tool chain. The AVR32 core enjoys support in the mainline Linux kernel.


The AT32AP7001 is available now, packaged in a 30mm-square 208-pin VQFP (very-small quad flat package) optimized for quad-layer PCBs. It costs $8 in quantities of 10K or more.

Also available are a $70 AVR32 Network Gateway kit (ATNGW100) and ATSTK1000 starter kit that support the AT32AP7001 processor, and respectively target networking equipment and general purpose embedded device developers.

Finally, the T2 SDE (system development environment) automated build system recently added support for the AVR32 architecture, offering device developers a head-start on assembling custom distributions for the AT32AP7001 SoC.

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