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ST Raises IoT Power Efficiency

March 30, 2021

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

STMicroelectronics’ new STM32U5 microcontrollers are power-efficient chips that feature an Arm Cortex-M33 CPU operating at 160MHz with TrustZone security. At their maximum clock speed, they outrun other Cortex-M33 MCUs. Yet they can draw as little as 3.5mA at that clock rate, undercutting slower competitors. Their combination of high performance, low power, strong security, large memories, and a plethora of peripherals is unmatched. One drawback: starting at $3.60 in 10,000-unit volumes, they’re more expensive than competing products.

The STM32U5 family targets smart IoT devices such as personal medical monitors, fitness bands, home automation networks, utility meters, industrial sensors, and small point-of-sale terminals. In addition to using TrustZone to separate secure and nonsecure tasks—still an uncommon feature in MCUs—the chips accelerate cryptography and defend against side-channel attacks. A new autonomous sleep mode keeps the integrated peripherals working while the rest of the chip slumbers. Peripherals and I/O interfaces include CAN-FD and USB Type-C with power delivery.

The high-end models have 2,048KB of flash memory and 786KB of SRAM. As usual with MCUs, ST offers a variety of feature and package options, adding up to 24 new models. They include eight different packages, ranging from a chip-scale device (WLCSP) measuring a mere 4.2mm x 3.95mm to a 20mm x 20mm full-featured product. These options are well suited to the target applications and to general embedded systems. The chips are sampling now in flash-friendly 40nm CMOS, with production scheduled to start in July for volume shipments in September.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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