Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller

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DualCore has introduced a monster - two ARMs, two 10/100 Ethernet MACs, and a
whole lot
more on one microcontroller:

http://microcontroller.com/news/dualcore_DCIC9907.asp

Not a bad start for a startup, huh?

Regards,

Bill Giovino
Executive Editor
http://Microcontroller.com




Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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But at "below $20" it sounds expensive.



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--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller

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  True, and it also starts to call for a different category than
"Microcontroller", with limited on-chip memory it probably is more
correctly an "Embedded Microprocessor" - or a ROM-less Microcontroller
-jg


Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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What is it then that defines something as a microcontroller rather than a
microprocessor? Does it have to have on-chip memory for that? My Sharp ARM7
has no on-board flash but has 8K of on-board RAM. Does that make it a
microprocessor?



Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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A new Troll!

To me the fact that a CPU is combined with peripherals makes it
a microcontroller, but this is my private opinion.
There are no clear boundaries and a discussion is probably a waste of time.

--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller

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I'll admit it looks like something that may have been trolled before but I
am interested to know what the difference is and if there is a definition,
even if out of date.

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If wasting time were not allowed then considerable areas of usenet would
have to be should down :-)

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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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  Zilog gives a good example/lead of what is a Processor, and what
is a Microcontroller.
  They make both, and have done for years.
Their delineation is not based on peripherals, but on-chip CODE memory.

-jg



Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
On Wed, 26 Apr 2006 12:29:49 +0200, "Ulf Samuelsson"

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That's I've been tought: CPU + peripherals (even ROM) =>
microcontroller. But with this definitions the AMD Opteron with RAM
interface is a microcontrollers too.

--
42Bastian
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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I think any definition should be rule based.
The rules below are prioritized, and once a decision is made,
there is no need to parse lower priority rules.

Rule 1)    Anything running late versions of Windows (CE does not count
here) is not a microcontroller
                I am going to ignore all comment about Geode...
Rule 2)    Anything without internal code memory (cache does not count here)
is not a microcontroller
Rule 3)    Anything with a serial communication channel, is a
microcontroller
Rule 4)    Anything without minimum 1 timer providing a periodic interrupt
is not a microcontroller
Rule 5)    Anything without minimum 1 programmable I/O pin is not a
microcontroller
Rule 6)    Anyting REQUIRING a companion chip, is not a microcontroller
...
Rule n)    It is a microcontroller

If I follow these rules above (which I just invented), then
the chips I can think of which I intuitively think are microcontrollers
will be classified as microcontrollers.



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Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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Your Rule 6 would exclude all external CODE devices, as code storage is
certainly "a required companion chip" !
( this is the scheme Zilog uses, they call external code ==
Microprocessor, self-contained == Microcontroller  )

-jg



Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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If you cannot execute code from internal memory,
then you are sorted out already by rule 2.

Having internal memory is a must, but it is not enough,according to my gut
feeling
If you put 2 MByte of flash on a Pentium/MMX chip, it would still not be a
microcontroller

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Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 22:12:29 +0200, "Ulf Samuelsson"

Nice idea.

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Maybe refine this: "...internal code memory (RO or RW) ..."
Else sam9261 is no microcontroller.

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I should send these to my old uC teacher :-))

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42Bastian
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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Yes, it was not inteded to limit to non volatile memory.
But this clarifies it.

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Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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Better even refine to "which is not available with code memory.."
Else the 80C31X2, the 80552 and 80C152 I have been programming the past
year also are NOT microcontrollers according to you....

regards,
Hans Bus
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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You are right, but I think it is better to move up the rule about serial
ports
and maybe make anything with a timer a microcontroller.
Dont think that a part with just I/O, no timer/serial and ext memory
qualifies
but onchip memory and I/O should certainly qualify.


Rule 1)    Anything running late versions of Windows (CE does not count
here) is not a microcontroller
                I am going to ignore all comment about Geode...
Rule 2)    Anything with a serial communication channel, is a
microcontroller
Rule 3)    Anything with minimum 1 timer capable of providing a periodic
interrupt is a microcontroller
Rule 4)    Anything without internal code memory (cache does not count here)
is not a microcontroller
Rule 5)    Anything without minimum 1 programmable I/O pin is not a
microcontroller
Rule 6)    Anyting REQUIRING a "companion" chip, is not a microcontroller
                Clarification:
                A companion chip is defined as a chip which if integrated
with a microprocessor
                would make the microprocessor a microcontroller
                Exception: A pure memory is not a "companion" chip.
...
Rule n)    It is a microcontroller

As mentioned previously, parse rules until there is a decision
and do not parse any further.


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Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
On Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:54:28 +0200, "Ulf Samuelsson"


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PPCs have a decrementer, which acts as timer. I am not sure, but
I strongly believe you can find it as well in "desktop" PPCs.


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42Bastian
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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Modern x86 devices have all sorts of internal timers and counters as
well, and they don't count as microcontrollers by any standards.

I think identifying microcontrollers and microprocessors is a bit like
identifying spam and ham - you have some rules that contribute points
one way or the other, with your final decision based on a total score.
A single fixed timer gives a little score, but several flexible timers
(especially with dedicated pins) gives a much bigger score.



Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller
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Sorted out by rule 1 ;-)  to avoid this discussion.
Anything *optimized* for workstations are unlikely to count as
microcontrollers.


Also, timer to do instruction count etc, does not count.
It should at least generate a periodic interrupt so you can .


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In a way, but I think you can reach a point where there is no doubt that it
is a microcontroller.
An ATtiny13 with 1kB Flash , 1 timer and 6 I/O's is no less of a
microcontroller than
an ATmega2560 with 256 kB of flash, loads of timers and serial ports.
It is significantly more a microcontroller than an i80386DX

--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller

The m32c, amusingly enough, has a single chip mode, a memory expansion
mode, and a microprocessor mode.  In microprocessor mode, the internal
flash is disabled, giving nearly all of the address space to external
devices.  Single-chip mode reconfigures the CPU bus pins to be GPIO
pins.

Re: Two Ethernet MACs in a new DualCore ARM Microcontroller


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I think you mean something like: if it uses less than 1 Watt, runs at less
than 200 (or maybe 100) Mhz, has fewer than 144 pins, doesn't have
a cache or MMU, has less than 1MByte flash, 1-128KB on-chip RAM,
doesn't need external chips other than flash/ROM/DRAM, costs less
than $25 then it is definitely a micro controller. You can argue about
exact the numbers of course.

Otherwise just about all current ARMs up to 1GHz are "micro controllers"
using your definition. Micro controllers typically use small packages, are
clocked below 100Mhz and don't cost much. They can't run standard
Windows or Linux indeed. High-end processors with MMU, lots of
SRAM/cache, with many peripherals (including advanced stuff like
audio/video accelerators) are called "application processors".

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Just about all CPUs have several serial communication channels,
like Hypertransport, USB, Ethernet, JTAG. It would need to be UART,
CAN, SPI, or I2C in order to qualify as a micro controller.

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All modern CPUs have this, including performance counters. Having a
watchdog timer would be more micro controller specific. A low interrupt
latency (< 25 cycles) and vectored interrupts are clearly micro controller
area too (CPUs with caches usually need a minimum of 100 cycles).

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It is more common to have on-chip SRAM than ROM or flash. It would
be better to say that it isn't a micro controller if doesn't use flash or
ROM
to execute most of its code (copying parts of the flash to SRAM for fast
execution is OK, using a flash just for booting isn't).

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That's reasonable.

Wilco



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