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Benchmark shows ‘huge MCU efficiency differences’

Benchmarking consortium EEMBC has launched ULPMark-PeripheralProfile (ULPMark-PP), a tool intended to measure the energy efficiency of MCUs and commonly used programmable peripherals. According to the group, ULPMark-PP reveals how efficiently each MCU vendor has designed and implemented its integrated peripherals.

Simultaneously, EEMBC is publishing the first ULPMark-PP results to demonstrate the benchmark’s value. According to EEMBC president Markus Levy, pictured, the results demonstrate ‘huge efficiency differences between microcontrollers’.

“Because every application has different needs to optimise power, performance, and cost, providing valuable and relevant microcontroller benchmarks requires ‘peeling the onion’ to understand which MCU is best for each application, said Mark Wallis, co-chair of the EEMBC IoT working group and system architect at STMicroelectronics.

The ULPMark-PP supplements EEMBC’s ULPMark-CoreProfile (ULPMark-CP) benchmark, which measures the efficiency of the MCU’s core by waking up every second to perform a brief CPU task before returning to an ultra-low-power mode. The ULPMark benchmarks are supplemented by IoTMark-BLE, which measures the energy used by the full subsystem, including the MCU, the radio and the protocol stack.

Levy concluded: “I encourage all embedded system developers to encourage their MCU vendors to publish the results for their devices. A comprehensive table of ULPMark-PP results adds credibility and realworld comparability to the specifications in datasheets.”

Meanwhile, EEMBC is planning to launch SecureMark, a security benchmark that mimics a typical TLS ciphersuite, as used by modern IoT devices, using basic security primitives like elliptic curve cryptography and AES.

  • For more on EEMBC's 20 years of benchmarking, click here

Graham Pitcher

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