Microchip boosts PIC microcontroller’s graphics and memory

Microchip claims that it has introduced the industry’s first microcontroller (MCU) with integrated 2D graphics processor unit (GPU) and double data rate version two (DDR2) memory to simplify graphics design.

The 32-bit PIC32MZ DA MCU family has an integrated 2D GPU and up to 32-MBbyte of integrated DDR2 memory. Users can increase the application’s colour resolution and display size, up to 12-inches with MCU-based resources and tools including Microchip’s MPLAB integrated development environment (IDE) and MPLAB Harmony software framework.

The PIC32MZ DA family targets large displays, which need a large amount of memory, offering efficiency in memory and bus use for high-visibility industrial graphics applications.

MCUs in the family have a three-layer graphics controller for high contrast, easy visibility. It makes image rendering and movement independent to reduce bus and central processing unit (CPU) useage. The controller drives 24-bit colour super extended graphics array (SXGA) displays. The 32-Mbyte DRAM handles 24-bit colour graphics and a 2D GPU, which was previously only available in microprocessing units (MPUs).

The PIC32MZ DA family bridges the graphics performance gap between MCUs and MPUs, says Microchip, for customers who want to stay in the familiar design environment of an MCU. The devices provide MPU-like graphics capabilities with the seamless integration and programming model of Microchip’s PIC32 and MPLAB IDE and Harmony software framework. The tools provide a visual graphics design environment, custom display driver creation, graphics libraries and an asset converter that can take a custom graphic and optimise it for a chosen display size.

The integrated 32-Mbyte SDRAM or 128-Mbyte externally addressable SDRAM options provide storage and there is also an on-chip flash, SRAM and connectivity option.

The inclusion of DDR2 memory, believed to be an industry first for MCUs, doubles the throughput rate, with large graphics buffers and/or storage for increasingly complex communications protocol stacks and algorithms. In addition to smooth interfaces, this also contributes to fewer product variants in a crowded communications control market, says Microchip.

The PIC32MZ DA family is supported by Microchip’s MPLAB Harmony Integrated Software Framework, MPLAB X IDE, MPLAB XC32 Compiler for PIC32, MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger and MPLAB REAL ICE in-circuit emulation system.

There are three package types, producing 40 variants, with crypto and non-crypto versions, external or internal memory options.

Devices in the PIC32MZ DA family are offered in a 169-ball all grid array (BGA), a 176-pin low-profile quad flat pack (LQFP) and a 288-ball BGA for external DDR2 applications.

Devices are available today in volume production.

At launch, additional tools are available, namely the PIC32MZ Embedded Graphics with Stacked DRAM (DA) starter kit (DM320010), the PIC32MZ Embedded Graphics with Stacked DRAM (DA) starter kit (Crypto) (DM320010-C), the PIC32MZ Embedded Graphics with External DRAM (DA) starter kit (DM320008), and the PIC32MZ Embedded Graphics with External DRAM (DA) starter kit (Crypto) (DM320008-C).



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