Embedded Processor Types
Table of Contents
The control unit and execution unit of the embedded processor handle this process. The arithmetic and logical unit (ALU), which includes a circuit that carries out the instruction sets needed to complete the operation inside processors, makes up the execution unit. Embedded systems, as you are aware, have special qualities like lower power consumption, smaller sizes, fewer user interfaces, etc. So Embedded systems are divided into a number of types according to their behavior, complexity, and functional performance. Each embedded system needs a particular type of embedded processor to function.
There are numerous types of embedded processors from various manufacturers on the market. These processors are employed in a variety of embedded system applications. You can read more about the various kinds of embedded processors here.
General Purpose Processors (GPP)
The embedded processors used for general-purpose, non-application-specific applications are known as general-purpose processors. It executes the commands in accordance with the general-purpose instruction set that has been predefined. The processor in the laptop or computer you are holding is an illustration of a general-purpose processor.
The microprocessor is a single VLSI chip that houses the CPU along with a number of external units for faster and more effective operation, including caches, registers, memory, floating-point processing units, and advanced processing units like pipelining and superscalar processing. From a list of general-purpose instructions, the CPU selects one, decodes it, and then executes it. So The instruction set includes instructions for data transfer operations, control operations, logic and math operations, etc.
The Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was first offered by Zilog. Intel released the 8085, an 8-bit microprocessor, to the public in March 1976. With the 8086 processor, they upgraded an 8-bit to a 16-bit processor. As the market leader in processor production for computers and laptops, Intel currently has a variety of processors in their arsenal. So The 32-bit SAMA5D2 family of microprocessors from Microchip includes SAMA5D2, SAMA5D3, and SAMA5D4. For various applications, there are more processors available, developed by renowned companies like Intel, Texas, ARM, Altera, NXP, etc.
A particular class of general-purpose processor is the microcontroller. It has a processor, memory, registers, caches, timer units, interrupt control units, and I/O ports on an integrated chip. Microcomputer is another name for the device that has a microcontroller. The microprocessor took up a significant amount of space in the embedded system because it contains every component necessary for its operation. During the 1980s and 1990s, Intel’s 8051 microcontroller was widely used. The 8051 controllers were used by the majority of embedded systems at the time. After that, various manufacturers greatly advanced microcontrollers in the embedded market.
An embedded processor known as a PIC microcontroller is used in a number of novel applications, including smartphones, audio accessories, video gaming peripherals, and cutting-edge medical equipment. Microchip’s two featured PIC families are PIC16 and PIC18. The performance, power efficiency, and flexibility of AVR microcontrollers are unmatched. As a result, they are a great option for many different embedded system designs. AVR DB, AVR DA, ATmega4809, and ATtiny1607 are a few of Microchip’s highlighted AVR microcontroller families. NXP semiconductors produces ARM-based microcontrollers for use in automotive applications, including the S32K, EA microcontroller series, and MAC57Dxxx Microcontrollers. So Texas Instruments’ ARM-based MCUs, C2000 Real-time MCUs, and MSP430 MCUs all have real-time control capabilities and are designed for use in industrial and automotive applications.
Intel, Philips, Atmel, ST Micro Electronics, Maxim are some of the other key manufacturers of microcontrollers.
Digital Signal Processor
An embedded special-purpose processor called a digital signal processor was created to handle the computational and power requirements of applications for audio, video, and communication. They are either 8-bit, 16-bit, or 32-bit microprocessors that are made to operate more quickly than an embedded general-purpose processor. The use of digital signal processors has increased significantly over the past ten years, with applications ranging from smart phones to cutting-edge scientific equipment. Through increased parallelism and decreased power dissipation, modern DSP architecture achieves high performance and low power. Digital signal processors carry out a number of operations, including the calculation of the sum of products (SOP), convolution, Fast Fourier transform, Discrete Fourier transform, Finite/Infinite Impulse Response (FIR/IIR), etc.
NXP semiconductors currently offers two families of digital signal processors: DSP56Fxx and MSC8xx. Their processors are intended for digital TV audio systems, mini stereo systems, surround sound decoders, audio/video (AV) receivers, home theaters, and automobile audio systems. In order to support better execution performance for arithmetic operations, ARM has also developed DSP processors with enhanced DSP instructions, such as the ARM cortex-A, ARM Cortex-R, and ARM Cortex-M. High-quality signal processing is offered by their processors. The Texas Instruments programmable DSPs are used in many embedded real-time signal processing applications, such as audio and aerospace & defense. They range from single-core, low-power processors to multi-core, high-performance DSP and ARM SoCs. A few of their most prominent DSPs in their market are the TMS320C6748, TMS320C6657, and TMS320C6678.
ST Microelectronics, Analog Devices, Cirrus Logic, Infineon Technologies are some of the other top manufacturers of DSP processors.
Single Purpose Embedded Processor
The single-purpose embedded processors serve just one specific purpose in an embedded system, as their name suggests. They take independent action by giving the host processor the required data. A network processor, graphics processor, pixel processor, accelerator, CODEC, and a co-processor for floating-point processing are all included. The floating-point operations are accelerated using floating-point co-processors. The floating-point co-processors from NXP semiconductors are MC68881 and MC6882. The process of establishing a network connection, sending and receiving acknowledgements, sending transmission requests, and checking for transmission errors all take place on the network processor.The network processor made by NXP semiconductors is called the C-5TM NP. The Microchip WinPath family of network processors is especially intended for and optimized for access networks.
A system’s graphics processor is used for processing and viewing videos and images, as well as for high-quality gaming functions. The leading manufacturers of graphics processors are AMD and Intel. Similar to encoding and decoding, CODEC is a single processor unit that is used to encode the information or data that needs to be transmitted or stored and decode the information that has been received.
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs)
Application-specific An integrated circuit is one that was not made with a general purpose in mind, but rather for a specific use. ASICs are typically created and used for a single system by a single company. Such embedded processors are more expensive but offer extremely high performance because they require more time and resources to develop the integrated circuit. Over one billion transistors are present in contemporary embedded systems, which are made with ASICs. Additionally, they are created using metal oxide semiconductor technology. So ASICs used today frequently incorporate microprocessors, memory modules, and other building blocks; this configuration is known as a system-on-chip (SoC).ASIC manufacturers include Altera, Honeywell, Intel, Texas Instruments, and ST Microelectronics.
Application Specific Standard Products (ASSPs)
It is an integrated circuit with a specific use and long-term applicability across numerous markets. ASSPs are readily available as off-the-shelf parts, making it simple to integrate and communicate with other system components already in place. From communications devices to automotive applications, ASSPs are utilized across all sectors of the economy. So Control units, microwave electronics, communication converters from analog to digital, and ultraviolet detectors all contain it. The main benefits of ASSPs are their low cost and significant reduction in development time. Thus, the time needed to market such embedded systems is shortened. ASIC is occasionally referred to as ASSP in a way that refers to when the IC is sold to numerous consumers.
System-on-Chip (SoC) Embedded Processor
An integrated circuit known as a “system-on-chip” contains all or the majority of the parts of a computer or other electronic system on a single chip. It is made up of hardware components and a microprocessor or microcontroller with software that controls the hardware. So NXP semiconductors produces system-on-chip devices like the 88MW32X, MC34SB0800, and QN908x. Among the companies that make SoCs are Altera, Analog Devices, Infineon, MIPS Technologies, and Texas Instruments.
Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) Embedded Processor
The processors covered above are constructed from silicon cores. Early FPGA devices had a fairly simple architecture. So Devices known as Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are composed of a number of reconfigurable logic blocks connected by programmable interconnects. The advantage of an FPGA is that its programmable logic can be set up to carry out any combination of digital functions. Additionally, because algorithms can be implemented in parallel, a large amount of data can be processed quickly and effectively. So The modern FPGA device includes a sizable number of high-speed serial interconnect blocks, on-chip memory, thousands of adders, multipliers, and digital signal processing (DSP) functions.