NXP cross-border processor i.MX RT into a burst, product planning route development

- Jul 03, 2018-

Recently, NXP NXP held a media exchange meeting in China to share the cross-border processor I.MX RT series products, and introduced the development of the Chinese market. Geoff Lees, senior vice president and general manager of the microcontroller business line at NXP, said at the outset that NXP's engineering resources have been tilting toward China for the past few years.

As China's largest supplier of ARM microcontrollers, microprocessors and automotive entertainment systems, NXP has nearly 7,000 employees in China, covering the entire industry chain of design, hardware, software and customer support.

NXP's R&D center in Suzhou is one of the largest R&D centers in China, and Shanghai has a large design center, which is an advanced team in the microcontroller division. Geoff Lees pointed out that in addition to the two design centers, NXP has a production department in Tianjin, and many products are currently produced and designed in Tianjin.

At the same time, NXP has a very close cooperation with Chinese universities. It is currently working with Tianjin University to conduct a four-year full-time undergraduate new engineering experimental class, which is the first time in the 120-year history of Tianjin University.

On June 17, 2017, NXP first announced the i.MX RT cross-border processor. Based on the Arm Cortex M7 core, i.MX RT adds on-chip RAM and removes the higher-priced Flash ROM, making it both the high performance of the MPU and the low cost of the MCU.

The first product, the RT1050, was designed in Suzhou and manufactured by SMIC, and was mass-produced in October 2017, reflecting NXP's strategy of defining, designing, manufacturing and serving China for China. The performance of the RT1050 is 50% higher than the nearest competitor. In less than a year, four major customers in China have entered mass production, and 2,500 customers worldwide are developing. According to official estimates, the opportunity discovered by RT1050 has reached the order of $500 million.

At the exchange meeting, Zeng Jintao, senior product manager of NXP's microcontroller business line, also announced three new i.MX RT cross-border processor products.

The first is the RT1020, which was born based on the RT1050. It is 30% lower than the RT1050, with a clock speed of 528MHz and encryption. Secondly, the RT1050 new package version uses a larger package that is more suitable for the Chinese market, which can reduce the cost of producing PCBs.

Subsequent RT1060, as an enhanced version of RT1050, its CPU clock speed is increased to 600MHz, on-chip RAM is increased to 1MB, high-speed GPIO, CAN-FD and NAND/NOR /PSRAM external memory controller supporting synchronous parallel interface can be used. Do graphics acceleration, Ethernet port, high-speed USB, etc.

Zeng Jintao said that NXP has a number of product plans this year, including the introduction of RT chips with a powerful DSP core, hardware acceleration for speech recognition and artificial intelligence, and RT Connectivity enhanced processor with WiFi and Bluetooth modules. And the entry-level RT1010 is only half the price of RT1050.

In addition to the new RT series, NXP has launched a globally cost-effective full-OS processor for the Chinese market: i.MX 6ULZ, which includes processor hardware and a complete Linux package. NXP expects that the cost-effective Liunx processor will be very popular in the Chinese market.

DSC (Digital Signal Controller) is a combination of DSP and MCU controllers. This product has been in NXP for more than 15 years, but has been building strength over the past few years. In recent years, its development momentum has been very strong, maintaining a growth rate of more than 50% in a row, far faster than the average growth rate of MCUs in the market.

In view of this, NXP decided to make further investments in the DSC product line. The DSC has digital signal processing capabilities that are specifically optimized for motor control, power conversion, and wireless charging applications to provide enhanced processing performance and better power consumption.

The DSC series is very compatible with the "Made in China 2025" strategy. Many industrial applications, from various power conversion, automotive and motor control, to the recent hot wireless charging, require DSC. In terms of industrial-grade wireless charging, NXP has developed a full-line solution from 5 watts to 200 watts based on DSC chips, and is at the most advanced level in the world in terms of hardware, software, support and enterprise standard certification.

NXP has invested in the DSC product line since last year and is currently optimizing and expanding on the 90nm product line, including lower power consumption and greater processing power. NXP's strategy is to use advanced technology and RT product platforms to develop products for advanced manufacturing and better serve Chinese customers and global customers.

Finally, NXP also revealed two new processor families, i.MX 7 and i.MX 8M. Both new processors are designed by the Chinese team, and the i.MX 7ULP is manufactured using 28nm FD-SOI (fully depleted silicon-on-insulator) process, which not only consumes less power than the lowest power consumption of microprocessors on the market, but also has very Strong local voice processing capabilities for a wide range of applications in smart homes and cars.