Atmel's MPCF-II Technology Brings ARM Processor-based Custom SoCs to 10K-unit Apps With No License Fees

CAP7L Customizable Microcontroller with $75K NRE enables lower cost of entry markets

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Atmel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) announced today its CAP7L customizable microcontroller that allows fabless semiconductor companies to implement ARM7(TM) processor-based systems-on-chip (SoCs) with a turn-around period as low as 12 weeks, a nominal NRE charge of only $75,000, and unit costs as low as $5, without requiring a separate license from ARM.

CAP7L SoCs are economical in volumes of 10K units, with a fully-amortized unit cost of $17. In 50K unit volumes, the amortized unit cost is only $7, including NRE and IP expense.

The AT91CAP7L is a microcontroller with 200K gates of metal programmable cell fabric that can be used to implement proprietary customer IP, hardware accelerators, additional processor cores or unique peripherals sets to achieve a customized SoC. Atmel has a large library of license- and royalty-free IP that has been fully verified and tested in the CAP7L MP block.

Atmel's second-generation metal programmable cell fabric technology (MPCF-II) has cut the mask charges to $75K by using only three metal and three via layers for configuration.

According to Jay Johnson, Atmel's director of CAP(TM) marketing, "Fabless semiconductor companies are often stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to implementing new designs. Low-volume, quick-turnaround ASICs typically have unit costs of hundreds of dollars and often require the purchase of an ARM IP license. The CAP7L provides an affordable low-volume solution with the power consumption, performance characteristics, and IP security of a custom-SoC, without excessive license fees or units costs. Worst-case static power consumption for the CAP7L is between 3mW and 4mW - 98% less than the power consumed by a typical FPGA," Johnson concluded.

The HDL code for any custom-IP is developed using standard, vendor-specific or third-party FPGA design tools. Once verified, the customer needs to provide the register transfer level (RTL) netlist to Atmel for implementation in the MP block on the CAP7L. Prototypes can be available within 10 weeks of final gate level netlist and production quantities within 12 weeks.

Existing Third-party Tools. The same C-compilers, RTOS, OSs, ICEs and IDEs used with Atmel's ARM processor-based MCUs can be used with the CAP versions of the devices. These include Atmel's free GNU gcc C compiler, GNU gdb debugger, real-time kernel. Commercially available tools include ARM (RealView Development Suite, RealView ICE, RealView Trace2) Green Hills(R) (Multi(R) IDE, TimeMachine(TM), Integrity(R) OS), IAR(TM) (C compiler - Embedded Workbench), ExpressLogic (Real-time Operating System - ThreadX(R)) and Micrium (Real-time Operating System - uCOS/II).

Availability and Pricing- CAP7L customizable microcontrollers are available now. NRE is $75K, with unit costs of $5.50 in quantities of 50K units in the 144 LQFP package. Included in the $75K NRE is design engineering to assist customers in re-targeting their FPGA code into Atmel's metal programmable library, static timing analysis and closure, place and route, design finishing, masks and 10 quick-turn prototypes. In addition, a low cost starter kit is available for engineering evaluation. The AT91CAP7A-STK kit is priced at $399.

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

(C) 2009 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel(R), Atmel logo and combinations thereof, Everywhere You Are(R), and others, are registered trademarks, CAP(TM) and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. ARM(R) and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of ARM Ltd. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.


Atmel's CAP product information may be retrieved at

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