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NEC Electronics America Introduces New 16-Bit Microcontrollers With Industry-Leading Low Power Consumption

July 7, 2008

NEC Electronics America, Inc. today introduced to the Americas twenty-two new 16-bit All Flash(TM) microcontrollers (MCUs) for compact, low-power, battery-operated and sensor-enabled systems. Based on NEC Electronics’ high-performance 16-bit 78K0R CPU core, the new 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs offer very low power consumption to extend battery life, and more on-chip integration to help reduce the size and cost of battery-driven and sensor-enabled systems such as fire and security alarms, meters, industrial sensors, anti-shake digital cameras, handheld medical diagnostics devices, and data-logging and point-of-sale terminals. In addition to low power consumption, the new lineup offers high-performance on-chip oscillators, built-in circuits for sensor functions and extended system operating time.

“As environmental awareness has grown, energy-saving systems have become particularly reliant on MCU technology,” said Jim Trent, vice president, multipurpose microcontroller and automotive group, NEC Electronics America. “Over the past several years, NEC Electronics has delivered many ultra-low-power 8- and 32-bit MCUs that have met the demand for energy efficiency. With the introduction of the new 78K0R/Kx3-L devices, however, NEC Electronics is now delivering the benefits of energy efficiency in its 16-bit products.”

By optimizing the power management circuitry, NEC Electronics has reduced standby power consumption in these new devices (when only the real-time clock functions are operational) by 60 percent, from an average of 2.4 microamperes (uA) to 1.0 uA. Likewise, power consumption at a clock speed of 10 megahertz (MHz) has been reduced by 10 percent, from 3.9 to 3.5 milliamperes (mA), and a clock speed of 20 MHz by 20 percent, from 8.2 to 6.5 mA. This lowered power consumption contributes to higher overall performance in end systems, a necessity for designers of the latest battery-driven applications. The new MCUs also offer the industry’s highest power/performance ratio(1), moving the bar from 1.8 to 1.5 milliwatts (mW) per million instructions per second (Dhrystone 1.1)(2).

Three on-chip oscillator circuits are able to generate three separate operating frequencies, one at the power-saving clock speed of 1 MHz, another at the high-performance clock speed of 20 MHz and a third at the conventional clock speed of 8 MHz, allowing users to select the most optimal operating frequency for a given application. An error rate of one percent at clock frequencies of 8 and 20 MHz eliminates the need to add an external oscillator for asynchronous data transfers, which demand high performance. This also contributes to lower costs and smaller sizes in end systems.

An optimized 12-channel, 10-bit A/D converter circuit improves the time it takes to convert analog input into digital output, thereby reducing signal conversion time from 6 to 3 microseconds (us)–50 percent faster than conventional products. Further, the addition of one internal operational amplifier channel and two internal comparator channels, in lieu of externally mounted peripherals, allows a wide range of analog data to be measured at low cost.

NEC Electronics’ 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs also include a built-in dedicated booster circuit that reduces operating voltage during flash programming from 2.7 to 1.8 volts (V) and extends operating time in the end system.

More information about NEC Electronics 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs can be found at http://www.am.necel.com/micro/promotion/78k0r/kx3-L/index.html.

(On a worldwide basis, NEC Electronics Corporation was rated the number one supplier of 32-bit MCUs in 2007 according to the Gartner Dataquest March 2008 rankings report.)

Availability and Pricing

Samples of the 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs are expected to begin shipping in August 2008. Pricing will vary depending on memory, package and pin configurations. For example, pricing for the 78K0R/KE3-L MCU with 64 KB of flash memory, 3 KB of RAM, and a 64-pin fine-pitch ball grid array (FPBGA) package is US$4.50 each in sample quantities. Volume production of the 78K0R/KE3-L MCU is scheduled to begin at the end of 2008. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.)

About NEC Electronics America, Inc.

NEC Electronics America, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Electronics Corporation (TOKYO: 6723), a leading provider of semiconductor products encompassing advanced technology solutions for the broadband and communications markets; system solutions for the mobile, PC, automotive and digital consumer markets; and multi-market solutions for a wide range of consumer applications. NEC Electronics America offers local manufacturing in Roseville, California, and the global manufacturing capabilities of its parent company. In the Americas, NEC Electronics America markets and sells industrial-type active-matrix LCD modules from NEC LCD Technologies, Ltd., a global leader in innovative display technologies. More information about the products offered by NEC Electronics America can be found at http://www.am.necel.com.

(1)Comparisons made in-house by NEC Electronics Corporation.

(2)The power/performance ratio is the power requirement needed to execute one million instructions per second (MIPS). The cited specification of 1.5mW (milliwatts/MIPS) is based on the MCU Dhrystone benchmark (version 1.1) score.

NEC Electronics and NEC Electronics America are either registered trademarks or trademarks of NEC Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All products and services mentioned in this release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. All Flash is a trademark or registered trademark of NEC Electronics Corporation. The All Flash(TM) MCUs use SuperFlash(R) licensed from Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. SuperFlash(R) is a registered trademark in Japan and the U.S. of Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. All other marks are property of their respective owners.




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