Texas Instruments: New DSCs push price/performance ratio

Announced earlier this week by Texas Instruments (TI, Houston, TX), a new generation of digital signal controllers (DSCs) promises to combine the best features of digital signal processors (DSPs) and microcontrollers (MCUs) for an ''unmatched'' price-performance combination.


F280x Series controllers integrate CAN port(s), watchdog timer, event manager, and several communication peripherals into the core.

Announced earlier this week by Texas Instruments (TI), a new generation of digital signal controllers (DSCs) promises to combine the best features of digital signal processors (DSPs) and microcontrollers (MCUs) for an ''unmatched'' price-performance combination. DSPs excel in math-code efficiency while MCUs are control-code efficient. TI’s TMS320F280x generation DSCs provide a roadmap on which developers can base future embedded designs for industrial automation and motor controls, among others.

First members of the family—F2801, F2806, and F2808 DSC—all offer 100 MIPS performance and a code security module. For example, F2801 with 16 kword flash, 6 kword RAM, and eight-channel 12-bit ADC is the lowest price unit at under $5 in 10k quantities. Other DSC models offer more extensive features, such as 64 kword storage, 18 kword RAM, and 16 channels of 12-bit ADC. They carry price tags of sub-$7.50 (F2806) and sub-$10 (F2808) for the same quantities.

In motor control applications, for example, these DSCs reportedly help designers enhance torque characteristics (zero-speed torque and lower torque ripple) and reduce system cost via a built-in pulse-width modulator. ''The new controller’s C28x, 32-bit DSP core was developed especially for industrial control,'' says Todd Solak, C2000 marketing manager at TI.

Samples of F280x-generation DSCs will be available in 4Q04, reflecting long lead times for the design of tomorrow’s embedded products. Developer’s tools, software libraries, and training/support complement the controller hardware.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, fbartos@reedbusiness.com

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