GigaDevice Offers MCUs based on both RISC-V, Arm

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

September 15, 2020

News

GigaDevice Offers MCUs based on both RISC-V, Arm

GigaDevice is a new entrant to my radar. The company's history is in memory products, but it is now a formidable player in the MCU space, both on the Arm and RISC-V sides (which is fairly unique).

GigaDevice is a relatively new entrant to my radar. The company’s history is in memory products, but it is now a formidable player in the MCU space, both on the Arm and RISC-V sides (which is fairly unique). In terms of Arm, the company recently released its GD32E5 series of high-performance MCUs based on the Arm Cortex-M33 core. An improved power efficiency comes through the use of TSMC’s low-power 40nm embedded flash memory process.

Thanks to frequencies up to 180MHz, targeted applications can include high-precision industrial control, digital power supplies, and measurement equipment. The MCU is also equipped with a hardware trigonometric math unit that supports vector, sine and cosine, exponent, square root, common logarithm, and other mathematical trigonometric operations. The goal is to reduce the burden on the CPU and improving the processing efficiency.

According to the company, a feature that’s unique to this family is an integrated super high-resolution timer (SHRTimer). It includes five independent counters which can generate five groups of two PWM control signals. The integration with other peripherals allows the device to generate various high-frequency waveforms for motor control applications. In addition, the parts integrate three 12-bit high-performance ADCs.

The newly added SQPI controller supports serial, two-wire and four-wire interface for external memories such as SQPI Flash and SQPI PSRAM. Thereby, easily expanding its external memory resources making it suitable for mobile printers, display screens fingerprint recognition, OTA upgrades and other applications that require large RAM buffers. Moreover, the new GD32EPRT special-purpose series now integrates 4MB of PSRAM.

RISC-V, Too

On the RISC-V side, GigaDevice offers its GD32VF103 device. It incorporates a 32-bit processor core operating at 108 MHz, up to 128 kbytes of on-chip flash memory, and 32 kbytes of SRAM. Other features include two 12-bit ADCs, two 12-bit DACs, four general 16-bit timers, and a host of other communications interfaces. It operates from a 2.6- to 3.6-V supply and is available in a –40°C to +85°C temperature range. Several power saving modes further enhance the efficiency.

If you’re wondering how to program the RISC-V part—and that’s a valid concern—you’ll be pleased to learn that IAR Systems has formed a partnership with GigaDevice to provide development tools for GigaDevice’s RISC-V-based MCUs. IAR’s Embedded Workbench tool provides the C/C++ compiler and debugger needed. It also includes simulator and hardware debugging support.

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Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, Embedded.com, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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