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Embedded processor architecture matters--for efficiency

Authored on: Oct 5, 2011 by Stefan Blixt

Technical Paper

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This white paper gives an overview of the microprocessor architecture development history and the reasons why a different architecture is more efficient with energy, transistors and memory than other architectures.

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Haldor Posted Oct 21, 2011

Can't agree with the conclusions that ARM moving downscale (Cortex M0 etc) is a mistake. A Cortex M0 processor has fewer transistors than an 8051 processor and provides much higher processor bandwidth at comparable cost. The RISC 32 bit instruction set disadvantage is also done away with by the Thumb2 instruction set. 16 bit instruction set operating on 32 bit operands certainly hits the sweet spot for code density. Personally I think Cortex M4 parts like the NXP LPC4300 are going to edge out low end DSP chips. These M4 parts provides comparable performance at lower BOM cost with significantly simple software development (ARM programmers are much more plentiful than DSP programmers). I have been an 8051 developer for decades and now that I can get Cortex M0 parts for under $1, I will never use an 8051 in another new design.

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