Microchip continues to prove that there's life at 8 bits

August 12, 2015 OpenSystems Media

Lots of industry pundits continue to crow that the 8-bit MCU market is dead, that 16- or 32-bit devices are so cheap that there’s no need for 8-bit devices. With ARM’s M0 and M3 architectures, it’s almost tough to dispute the argument. However, Microchip continues to crank out 8-bit parts and, according to all reports, surveys, etc., they continue to fly off the shelf. Go figure.

The latest example of Microchip’s run of products includes two 8-bit PIC MCU families, the PIC16F18877 and PIC16F1579, which are designed with Core-Independent Peripherals (CIPs). This technology, which includes a growing number of intelligent, connected devices, lets the 8-bit MCUs operate in a broader range of applications. Note that the interconnected CIPs can perform functions autonomously, without the core. Because these functions are deterministically and reliably performed in hardware instead of software, CIPs enable system performance that’s beyond typical 8-bit MCUs while simplifying the design and reducing memory cost.

The PIC16F18877 offers integrated ADC computation and contains a series of newly designed low-power modes. The PIC16F1579 is built with four independent time-based 16-bit PWMs. The two new families are available in 8-pin to 40-pin packages and operate in the 1.8 V to 5.5 V range. Both families offer the Peripheral Pin Select feature, which enables flexible pin mapping and PCB routing to minimize EMI and crosstalk. Example applications include consumer electronics, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technology, and safety-critical systems.

Pricing starts at $0.51 each in 10,000-unit quantities. A development board, the Curiosity, is available to get designers started. It sells for just $20).

Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director
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