More cores in XMOS' MCUs address complex audio

March 23, 2015 // By Julien Happich
XMOS has just announced a new family of multicore microcontrollers, the xCORE-200 packing up to 16 independent 32-bit RISC processor cores for the XE216 device. With multiple processing cores executing completely independently, tasks are guaranteed to complete within a strict timing budget.

Because the cores are tightly interconnected through a dedicated switch, responding to events triggered by I/O pins, timers and tasks, rather than interrupts, response times are measured in nanoseconds. That's three orders of magnitude faster than traditional microcontrollers and the main claim of XMOS’ xCORE architecture. The XE216 can deliver up to up to 2000MIPs for general purpose and DSP processing and supporting up to 512Kbytes of embedded SRAM memory.

Already shipping to selected customers, the multicore microcontroller family also supports 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet with a programmable MAC layer and Internet webserver support, opening up Gigabit-speed Internet-of-Things applications.

Offering top MCU performance with flexible core processing power allocation (transparently configured through the company’s xTIME-Composer Studio development tools), the new devices are said to deliver twice the performance and four times the on-chip SRAM memory of the company’s first generation xCORE multicore microcontrollers.
They add a flexible Gigabit Ethernet port alongside a high performance and programmable XMOS USB 2.0 interface, and devices will be available with up to 2Mbytes of on-chip Flash memory for system-level integration and security.

Delivered in a 128-pin TQFP package, the XE216-512-TQ128 will cost less than USD4.75 in high volume and a complete family of devices will become available over the next few months ranging from products with 8 high-performance 32bit-RISC-processors, up to devices with 10, 12 and 16 cores.

The company’s roadmap for the second half of 2015 includes xCORE-200 products with 24 and 32 high-performance 32-bit-processor cores

On top of this new product line announcement, XMOS also recognizes the importance of the consumer audio market by taping out a $2 dedicated audio line, dubbed xCORE-AUDIO.

In effect, the parts are a sub-category of the xCORE-200 already optimized for both high-resolution consumer audio and complex multichannel professional audio applications. xCORE-AUDIO Hi-Res targets the emerging market for stereo high resolution USB headphone amplifiers, DACs and AVR systems while xCORE-AUDIO Live supports prosumer and professional audio applications including