Paul van Gerven
3 October 2019

NXP has announced an MCU family with cores that can run up to an unprecedented 1 GHz. That kind of clock speeds are typically the domain of CPUs but the Dutch semiconductor company believes giving microcontrollers a bit more oomph will open up a world of new possibilities in edge computing for industrial, IoT and automotive applications. To that end, performance is carefully balanced with power needs.

Credit: NXP

The I.MX RT1170 family is based on 28nm FD-SOI technology, also a first for MCUs. Features include a dual-core architecture with an Arm Cortex-M7 running up to 1 GHz and a more power-efficient Cortex-M4 with independent power domains of operation, enabling developers to run applications in parallel or reduce power consumption by turning off individual cores as necessary.

For edge compute applications, the GHz Cortex-M7 core provides enhanced performance for machine learning, edge inference for voice, vision and gesture recognition, natural language understanding, data analytics and digital signal processing functions. “As we move towards a world of a trillion connected devices, businesses are looking for real-time data insights, driving an increased requirement for on-device intelligence,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager of the Automotive and IoT Line of Business at Arm.