Freescale Semiconductor claims that its new Kinetis X series
is the world's fastest MCUs built on an ARM Cortex-M core.
The Kinetis X series offers designers additional horsepower
and memory for their applications, while retaining the
cost-effectiveness, ease of use and power consumption of an
MCU rather than transitioning to a microprocessor solution.
The new Kinetis X series shares the same ARM Cortex-M4 core
(with DSP and floating point instructions) used for other
Kinetis devices, but with an increased operating frequency up
to 200 MHz. Kinetis X series internal memories include 1-4
Mbyte of flash and 0.5 Mbyte of SRAM, with multiple off-chip
memory options also available for expansion headroom. In
addition, the X series offers a suite of connectivity,
security and HMI peripherals, all accompanied by Freescale's
bundled software enablement. The Kinetis X series can be used
in including automation, point of sale, medical
instrumentation, test and measurement and systems that
incorporate a human-machine interface (HMI).
Kinetis X series MCUs offer several hardware acceleration
techniques designed to maximize system performance by freeing
the core from memory access limitations and peripheral
servicing constraints. These include large on-chip
instruction and data caches that maximize CPU efficiency, 32
KB of tightly coupled SRAM for single-cycle access to
scratchpad data and a 64-channel DMA controller that offloads
general peripheral and memory servicing tasks from the CPU.
The X series also includes a 64-bit AXI bus, a first in
Cortex-M class MCUs, that increases concurrent data transfer
capabilities from several bus masters.
Kinetis X series MCUs offer 1 to 4 Mbyte of embedded flash
memory and 0.5 Mbyte of ECC-enabled SRAM, providing an
expansive solution. Freescale will also offer a flash-less
For further expansion, virtually any type of external memory
can be addressed (including NOR and NAND flash, serial flash,
SRAM, low-power DDR2 and DDR3). High-performance execute in
place (XIP) is possible from NOR or Quad-SPI serial flash.
Kinetis X series MCUs also feature Ethernet, high-speed USB
On-The-Go, CAN, IIS and serial communication interfaces, as
well as cryptographic acceleration and tamper detection
Applications that require a graphical user interface (GUI)
can select from a low-power segment LCD or graphics LCD
controller. The large amount of on-chip SRAM supports
graphics LCD panels of up to WQVGA resolution without the
need for an external frame buffer. If required, this can be
expanded to accommodate higher-resolution panels using
external 8-bit DRAM. For the rapid development of embedded
GUIs, Freescale offers the PEG (Portable Embedded GUI)
WindowBuilder suite and the complimentary, low-resource eGUI
All Kinetis MCUs come with a suite of software and tools,
including Freescale's MQX real-time operating system with integrated TCP/IP and USB stacks and support for low/no-cost
graphic LCD and encryption plug-ins. Also bundled with
Kinetis MCUs is the Eclipse-based CodeWarrior 10.x integrated
development environment (IDE) with Processor Expert -
providing a visual, automated framework to accelerate the
development of complex embedded applications. Kinetis MCUs
also are supported by the expansive ARM ecosystem, including
development tools from IAR Systems, Keil and Green Hills.
In addition, Freescale plans to introduce a software
development platform before the arrival of silicon.
Freescale plans to provide Kinetis X series alpha samples and
development tools in Q2 2012, with production quantities
available in Q1 2013.