MCU, MPU, DSP & embedded software


Højtydende MCU'er åbner nye muligheder inden for smart home og industrisystemer

Højtydende MCU'er åbner nye muligheder inden for smart home og industrisystemer

STMicroelectronics lancerer STM32H7R/S serien af microcontrollere, der retter sig mod den næste generation af smarte devices til brug i bygningerr, industri, infrastrukturer og eHealth applikationer (in english).

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STMicroelectronics has revealed a new high-performance device that punches above its weight by combining performance, scalability and security of microprocessor-based systems that are typically more complex with the simplicity and integration of microcontrollers (MCUs).

Using these new STM32H7 MCUs, producers of equipment like smart appliances, smart-building controllers, industrial automation, and personal medical devices can evolve their products more quickly and cost effectively as end-users’ demands continue to increase. Examples include adding richer, colorful user interfaces and performing multiple functions simultaneously, which is usually achieved with microprocessors (MPU).

- Our STM32 is already the world’s most popular Arm Cortex-M microcontroller family, and the latest STM32H7 devices let designers address even more use cases within this powerful ecosystem.  Its MPU-like qualities deliver outstanding core performance with the peripheral integration and convenience of an MCU, at a cost-effective price point, says Patrick Aidoune, General Purpose MCU Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics.

- With a dedicated graphics processor and fast memory interfaces on-chip, these MCUs are perfectly aligned with our mission to push the boundaries of what's possible in embedded displays, adds Kamil Kozlowski, CEO of Riverdi, a lead customer for the STM32H7R/S MCUs. Riverdi has chosen the devices to power its next generation of display modules.

- The MCUs promise to enhance the visual performance and responsiveness of future displays, enabling more engaging and interactive user experiences. This represents a significant step forward in our journey to provide cutting-edge display solutions to our customers.

ST’s new STM32H7R and STM32H7S microcontrollers come with robust security features, needed to address Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They include protection against physical attacks, memory protection, code isolation to protect the application at runtime, and platform authentication.

The STM32H7S devices provide further security enhancement by integrating immutable root of trust, debug authentication, and hardware cryptographic accelerators that support the latest algorithms to prevent unauthorized access to code and data. With these security features, the devices are targeting up to SESIP3 and PSA Level 3 certifications, meeting the highest industry standards for cyber protection.

The STM32H7 MCUs combine the highest-performing Arm Cortex-M core ST has yet announced (Cortex-M7 running at up to 600MHz) with minimal on-chip memory and high-speed external interfaces. They let engineers build systems with extra performance and flexibility using simple, low-cost microcontroller development tools.

The devices available are further divided into the STM32H7R3/S3 general-purpose MCUs and the STM32H7R7/S7 with enhanced graphics-handling capabilities. Developers can share software extensively between the two lines, enabling efficient use of project resources and faster time to market for new products.

Michela Menting, Senior Research Director from ABI Research, explains:

- IoT hardware security is the holy grail for created trusted devices. The difficulty has been to offer a high-level of security for MCU-based embedded hardware, while achieving MPU-performance in a cost-effective manner; three criteria that are not often seen together in the market. The new STM32H7 MCUs appear to offer just that, with security front and center, built to perform the multi-application requirements of privacy-hungry markets in the consumer and industrial space.

ST’s new STM32H7 MCUs are scheduled to enter volume production from April 2024. Sample requests and pricing information are available from local ST sales offices.

The STM32H7S8-DK demonstration and development platform, and the affordable and extendable NUCLEO-H7S3L8 MCU board, are available to accelerate building applications using the new devices.

Bootflash memory and SRAM on the chip

Bootflash memory and SRAM on the chipST’s strategy, with the new STM32H7 devices, is to embed Bootflash memory and SRAM on the chip while application code and data is stored in off-chip memory ICs. The bootflash ensures easier and more secure startup, in keeping with STM32 MCUs, and facilitates application development using familiar tools and STM32 software packs. The STM32Cube software and tools help developers to set up the boot system and locate their code in external memories.

The developer is free to choose the right type and size of external memories to fulfil the application and ensure a cost-effective bill of materials (BoM). The application code can either be executed from external memory or loaded into the large internal SRAM. The I/O pins for connecting external memory ICs embed memory crypto engines (MCE) that encrypt and decrypt coded data on-the-fly. The memory interfaces operate at up to 200MHz in DTR, ensuring seamless application execution.

Alongside the high-performing core, ST has integrated its NeoChrom GPU that enables MPU-like graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with rich colors, animation, and 3D-like effects. With the display controller also on-chip, these MCUs can handle vibrant and colorful high-definition user interfaces that would be too taxing for smaller microcontrollers.

Running the UI uses only about 10% of the main CPU performance, enabling appliances to deliver smartphone-like user experiences while also running demanding applications like edge AI, communication, and real-time control. The STM32H7R and STM32H7S are already supported in ST’s TouchGFX GUI development framework, which is continually updated with new features that let developers create imaginative effects with smooth and fluid graphics and animations.

As MCUs, the new devices let users create simple PCB designs that require many fewer layers than typical MPUs and so save costs. Designers also benefit from the wide range of package options, which extend from low-cost 68-pin packages to packages with up to 225 pins for applications that demand many external connections, such as large numbers of sensor inputs or communication channels.

In addition, power management is integrated on-chip, in contrast with typical MPU practice that requires an external power-management IC (PMIC).

18/3 2024
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