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Running in the family

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Microchip extends its PIC mcu family to 32bit to satisfy demands for increased memory, performance and functionality.

In a move to satisfy demand for increased memory, performance and functionality, Microchip has extended its portfolio of 8 and 16bit mcus with the launch a 32bit family based on the industry standard MIPS32 architecture. Featuring seven general purpose members, the PIC32 family operates at up to 72MHz and can support up to 512kbyte of flash and 32kbyte of ram. The PIC32 family also includes a set of integrated peripherals that Microchip claims ‘significantly reduces’ design complexity and cost. “Customers are increasingly looking to integrate more features,” explained Paul Garden, product marketing manager for Microchip’s high performance MCU division. “We’ve seen performance requirements grow beyond our 16bit product line, so we need to provide a product that enables customers to expand their applications to the next level. The new PIC32 family is compatible with our existing range of mcus and we’re in the unique position where we can offer one mcu development toolchain for all our products.” Garden says that time to market was a major factor in choosing to license an existing core, as the investment and timescale involved in developing its own mcu would have been prohibitive. “The reason for choosing the MIPS32 M4K core was the broad software and the ecosystem available,” continued Garden. “The MIPS product line and architecture has been around for some time and we wanted to buy into a sound and mature architecture with a broad software and tool ecosystem. When we looked at MIPS’ product line, the tools and the extensibility of its product features, we realised that these factors made them an obvious choice.”