Freescale Unveils i.MX 7 Series with Industry's Most Power Efficient ARM(r) Cortex(r)-A7 GHz-Class Applications Processors

Feature-Rich Multicore Processors Provide Exceptional Performance at One Third the Power of the i.MX 6 Series; Deep Suspend Mode Enables Rich OS Standby Power Consumption of Just 250 μW

AUSTIN, Texas -- Today at the 2015 Freescale Technology Forum, Freescale introduced the i.MX 7 series – a new generation of power efficient and full featured applications processors based on its successful and broadly deployed i.MX platform. The i.MX 7 series delivers world class core power efficiency of 15.7 DMIPS/mW, a new Low Power State Retention mode (LPSR) of 250 μW and the industry’s first general purpose microprocessor family to incorporate both the ARM Cortex-A7 and the ARM Cortex-M4 cores. These technologies, together with Freescale’s new companion PF3000 PMIC, unleash the potential for dramatically innovative, secure and power efficient end-products for the wearable computing and Internet of Things (IoT) eras.

The first members of the series are the new i.MX 7Solo and i.MX 7Dual product families, which feature Cortex-A7 cores operating up to 1 GHz and a Cortex-M4 core operating up to 266 MHz. The Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 achieve processor core efficiency levels of 100 μW /MHz and 70 μW /MHz respectively. All of the cores can be individually power enabled to perform as needed. This performance-on-demand architecture allows the i.MX 7 series to meet the bursty, high-performance needs of running Linux, graphical user interfaces, wireless stacks or other high-bandwidth data transfers with one or both of the Cortex-A7 cores. When high levels of processing are not needed, the work can be transferred to the smaller, lower powered Cortex-M4, enabling the power gating of the Cortex-A7 core.

Through the use of an advanced 28nm ultra low leakage process technology and discrete power domain architecture, the LPSR mode consumes only 250 μW, representing 48 percent power savings versus competition, while supporting DDR self-refresh mode, GPIO wakeup, and memory state retention. Creating a system with power efficient processing and low power deep sleep modes enables a new tier of performance-on-demand, battery operated devices requiring smaller batteries and becoming lighter and cheaper.

Freescale’s i.MX 7 series processors are ideal for a host of applications including wearables, secure point-of-sale equipment, smart home controls, industrial products and a vast array of innovative IoT solutions. The i.MX 7 series also continues Freescale’s industry leading support for the e-Reader market via integration of an advanced, fourth-generation EPD controller.

“Freescale’s i.MX 7 series scores industry leading dynamic and static power efficiency numbers, at a fraction of competing devices,” said Ron Martino, vice president of Applications Processors and Advanced Technology Adoption for Freescale’s MCU group. “We’ve combined our ultra-low power performance-on-demand architecture and the ARM Cortex-A7 – the most energy efficient multicore ARM application core ever developed – to deliver innovative new features like a new battery savings mode consuming only 250 μW, representing a 3x improvement over our previous generation, and minimizing wake up times without requiring Linux reboot.”

High bandwidth connections are provided through a variety of interfaces such as PCIe and Dual Gigabit Ethernet with AVB support. Both of the new i.MX 7 processors support the performance and power driven range of external memories including eMMC5.0 and Low Power-DDR3, meeting higher bandwidth applications.

Exceptional security for the Internet of Tomorrow

To address increasingly stringent security requirements for Point-of-Sale and IoT applications, i.MX 7 series products integrate Elliptic Curve Cryptography technology, active tamper detection, secure boot and other hardware-enabled features that help to secure sensitive information. In addition, the i.MX 7 architecture features independently controlled and secured resource domains, which partition to isolate security threats and enable a hardware firewall.

Driving i.MX 7 power still lower: Freescale’s new PF3000 PMIC

Also debuting today at the 2015 Freescale Technology Forum is the PF3000 power management IC (PMIC), which was developed in parallel with and optimized specifically for the i.MX 7 series to provide the highest possible overall system power efficiency. With up to four buck converters, six linear regulators, RTC supply, and coin-cell charger, the PF3000 is engineered to support all specified i.MX 7 use cases and conditions. PF3000 PMIC is a fully integrated solution enabling system-level power efficiency by optimizing power delivery not just to the processor, but also to peripherals and various types of system memory resources in an overall component solution size of less than 100mm^2. The PMIC supports one-time programmable memory for controlling startup sequence and output voltages with no external components required. Best in class light load efficiency combined with user programmable Standby, Sleep/LPSR, and Off power modes maximize the i.MX 7’s industry leading low power performance. Incorporated into multiple i.MX 7 reference designs and featuring a single price point extensible across multiple cores, operating frequencies and memory types, the PMIC also helps streamline development and lower overall bill of materials costs.

Enablement resources

Freescale offers extensive enablement support for the i.MX 7 series and leverages the broad ARM ecosystem to enable customers to get to market faster. The i.MX 7 series is supported by the SABRE board for smart devices, which comes with the PF3000 PMIC, Wi-Fi 11ac/abgn, Bluetooth 4.1 and an SD card preinstalled with the Linux® operating system. Android™ OS is also available from Freescale.

Availability

Samples of the i.MX 7Solo and i.MX 7Dual applications processors are available now with full production planned for November 2015. The PF3000 PMIC is available now from Freescale and authorized distributors worldwide. Two PF3000 board designs are available now: the KITPF3000FRDMEVM evaluation board and the KITPF3000FRDMPGM programming board. For additional pricing or other information, please contact a local Freescale sales office.

About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) enables secure, embedded processing solutions for the Internet of Tomorrow. Freescale’s solutions drive a more innovative and connected world, simplifying our lives and making us safer. While serving the world’s largest companies, Freescale is also committed to supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, enabling the next generation of innovators. www.freescale.com.

About the Freescale Technology Forum

For ten years, the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) has driven innovation and collaboration by featuring one of the most comprehensive embedded ecosystems in the industry. FTF provides the training and expertise customers need to create and enable the secure, embedded solutions needed for the Internet of Things – today and tomorrow. FTF features four days of in-depth training, hands-on workshops, demonstrations from Freescale and ecosystem partners and exceptional opportunities to collaborate with industry peers and visionaries. The forum has been enthusiastically received by the global developer community, drawing nearly 70,000 attendees worldwide since its inception in 2005. FTF takes place June 22-25, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The keynotes will be available by live stream. Don't miss out – save the dates to your calendar.

Freescale and the Freescale logo are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. ARM and Cortex are trademarks or registered trademarks of ARM Ltd or its subsidiaries in the EU and/or elsewhere. All rights reserved. © 2015 Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.

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Source: Freescale Semiconductor