Redpine’s Multicore MCU Pushes Processing Envelope While Cutting Power

October 18, 2018 Rich Nass

Designers know that there are always tradeoffs to be made. Those tradeoffs can come in the form of cost, power, size, and so on. As time marches on, thankfully, the tradeoffs become fewer and fewer. Case in point is the RS12000 SmartMCU, from Redpine Signals. From a performance perspective, the device is 1.07 GOPS at a power level of 19 μA/MHz. Applications that can take advantage of these features include battery-powered IoT Edge-intelligent, voice assistant-enabled, and network and cloud connected devices.

The part is based on a multi-core IoT processor architecture, featuring an ARM Cortex M4F core running at up to 250 MHz, a sensor hub DSP coprocessor that maxes out at 125 MHz, and a four-threaded network security processor running at up to 160MHz. The network security processor supports all security modes in hardware for the highest level of protection including Trusted Execution Environment. The DSP core is based on Redpine’s proven ThreadArch technology. The ThreadArch-based core frees up the main M4 MCU for other tasks. A full suite of analog and digital peripherals are included, which is where the power savings emanate.

Currently, the RS12000 SmartMCU series consists of three devices: the RS12100 SmartMCU; the RS12200 High-Performance MCU; and the RS12300 Secure MCU with Trusted Execution Environment. All start with an ARM Cortex M4F, with dual-core options in the latter two devices, and each has the sensor hub DSP coprocessor. The 200 and 300 offer double the memory at 800 Kbytes of RAM and 8 Mbytes of flash. Finally, the 300 is loaded with security features.

The RS12000 family seamlessly interfaces with Redpine’s RS9116 wireless connectivity solutions to provide Wi-Fi, dual-mode Bluetooth 5, and 802.15.4 connectivity. The parts are offered in QFN, BGA, and WLCSP packages. Samples are available now, with volume production starting in the first quarter of next year.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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