Low-power 32-bit MCU series offers scalable lineup for portable consumer and industrial devices

May 25, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Renesas Electronics has expanded its RX200 Series of low-power mid-range microcontrollers (MCUs), introducing the RX220 Group of 11 entry-level devices to provide greater scalability for embedded designers moving from 8- and 16-bit to 32-bit applications.

Based on the RX CPU core, the new RX220 general-purpose MCUs offer a combination of high performance and low power consumption for cost-conscious consumer and industrial applications, including electric household appliances, smartphones and digital cameras, industrial equipment, and measuring devices.

Changing user expectations continue to drive the trend toward higher performance and enhanced functionality in electric household appliances, portable devices such as digital cameras and smartphones, and industrial equipment. In addition, for systems incorporating 16-bit MCUs, there is a need to improve processing performance, reduce power consumption, and to boost functional safety without increasing the cost substantially. There is also deep-seated demand for MCU product lineups built around the same CPU core to allow designers to scale from the low-end to high-end of the market more easily.

Renesas launched the RX Family of 32-bit MCUs with high performance and low power consumption to cover a wide range of applications. Within the RX Family, the RX200 Series supports low-voltage operation and features ultra-low power characteristics. To further address the customers’ demands, Renesas has developed the RX220 Group of entry-level products that simplify the transition to the RX Family and to 32-bit MCUs.

The new RX220 Group of MCUs achieves processing performance of approximately 50 Dhrystone MIPS (DMIPS) (1.56 DMIPS/MHz) at 32 MHz while maintaining low power consumption. The power consumption is reduced to less than half that of the earlier RX200 Series when operating in the low-frequency range down to 8 MHz.

The RX CPU core delivers industry-leading performance of 1.56 DMIPS/MHz among mid-range MCUs. It is also possible to substantially reduce the processing time through intermittent operation in which processing and standby stages alternate, which helps significantly reduce overall system power consumption.

The new RX220 Group of MCUs achieves power consumption levels as low as 0.2 mA/MHz when only the CPU is operating and the peripheral functions are halted. When operating in software standby mode, in which the contents of