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Atmel Bought by Microchip

Started by rickman June 28, 2016
On Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:08:19 -0400, rickman <gnuarm@gmail.com> wrote:

>On 7/26/2016 8:12 PM, krw@attt.bizz wrote: >> On Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:43:16 -0400, rickman <gnuarm@gmail.com> wrote: >> >>> On 7/25/2016 8:22 PM, krw@attt.bizz wrote: >>>> On Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:15:41 +0200, pozz <pozzugno@gmail.com> wrote: >>>> >>>>> Il 23/07/2016 05:01, krw@attt.bizz ha scritto: >>>>>> >>>>>> The AVR architecture isn't all that great >>>>> >>>>> I worked with PIC and AVR and IMHO AVR is much better. >>>> >>>> Perhaps but AVR has no reason for being. Any new customer has to have >>>> their head examined. >>> >>> Can you explain that? >> >> Sure. There are better alternatives. > >"Better" in what way?
Faster, cheaper, and alternate sources (for both hardware and software).
>> New information: Microchip is significantly increasing AVR >> development. Go figure. > >I guess they know a winner when they see it.
I guess they know there are a lot of heads that need examining.
On Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:25:22 -0400, Spehro Pefhany
<speffSNIP@interlogDOTyou.knowwhat> wrote:

>On Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:12:24 -0400, the renowned krw@attt.bizz wrote: > >> >>Sure. There are better alternatives. >> >>New information: Microchip is significantly increasing AVR >>development. Go figure. > >The sessions at their summer program include AVR and Cortex M7.
They know they have a lot of "trapped" AVR customers. Again, I can't imagine anyone choosing it today, unless they had a lot of investment (or inertia) they were protecting.
>I'm optimistic (don't care that much about AVR but some folks do).
We dumped the AVR a couple of years ago. ...but there is an argument to be made that we jumped on the M7 a little too quickly. We probably couldn't have done it at all if we waited until "it was ready", though.
krw@attt.bizz writes:
> They know they have a lot of "trapped" AVR customers. Again, I can't > imagine anyone choosing it today, unless they had a lot of investment > (or inertia) they were protecting.
I'm just a software geek but the AVR looks pretty versatile to me and I know that lots of hardware folks like it. Yeah I suppose there's inertia. Still don't know what you're advising instead. You mentioned the Cortex M7 but that's at a completely different level of cost and complexity. The M0 is closer, but I don't know of any M0 (or other ARM) parts directly comparable to the more popular AVR's.
On 7/27/2016 7:49 PM, krw@attt.bizz wrote:
> On Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:08:19 -0400, rickman <gnuarm@gmail.com> wrote: > >> On 7/26/2016 8:12 PM, krw@attt.bizz wrote: >>> On Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:43:16 -0400, rickman <gnuarm@gmail.com> wrote: >>> >>>> On 7/25/2016 8:22 PM, krw@attt.bizz wrote: >>>>> On Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:15:41 +0200, pozz <pozzugno@gmail.com> wrote: >>>>> >>>>>> Il 23/07/2016 05:01, krw@attt.bizz ha scritto: >>>>>>> >>>>>>> The AVR architecture isn't all that great >>>>>> >>>>>> I worked with PIC and AVR and IMHO AVR is much better. >>>>> >>>>> Perhaps but AVR has no reason for being. Any new customer has to have >>>>> their head examined. >>>> >>>> Can you explain that? >>> >>> Sure. There are better alternatives. >> >> "Better" in what way? > > Faster, cheaper, and alternate sources (for both hardware and > software).
Faster is seldom a discriminating criterion for selecting an MCU. Fast enough is what is required. AVRs are in the same ballpark as other 8 bit devices and even 16 bit devices. Cost is in the same ballpark as other product lines as well. Which MCUs have alternate sources other than the 8051?
>>> New information: Microchip is significantly increasing AVR >>> development. Go figure. >> >> I guess they know a winner when they see it. > > I guess they know there are a lot of heads that need examining. >
-- Rick C
Paul Rubin wrote:
> krw@attt.bizz writes: >> They know they have a lot of "trapped" AVR customers. Again, I can't >> imagine anyone choosing it today, unless they had a lot of investment >> (or inertia) they were protecting. > > I'm just a software geek but the AVR looks pretty versatile to me and I > know that lots of hardware folks like it. Yeah I suppose there's > inertia.
It's not *bad*, but my experience is that the same part number may not be 100% compatible with older revisions later on. If you have something with a 5-year lifespan, could be a problem.
> Still don't know what you're advising instead. You mentioned > the Cortex M7 but that's at a completely different level of cost and > complexity. The M0 is closer, but I don't know of any M0 (or other ARM) > parts directly comparable to the more popular AVR's. >
There are a lot of choices. ARM Mx, PICxx. PICxx has many of the same single-source problems as AVR, but I've never caught them in the same "new revs are different" trap as with AVR. -- Les Cargill
Les Cargill <lcargill99@comcast.com> writes:
> There are a lot of choices. ARM Mx, PICxx. PICxx has many of the same > single-source problems as AVR, but I've never caught them in the same > "new revs are different" trap as with AVR.
The smaller PICs seem horrible to program. AVR and ARM at least have decent gcc-based tool chains. As mentioned, I don't know of ARM parts directly comparable to the more popular AVR's (PDIP packages for breadboard prototyping, 5-volt tolerant i/o, etc). ARMs also seem more complex to program than AVR (e.g. in terms of the stuff required on startup) but maybe that's my imagination. I was a fan of the TI MSP430 line for a while, since it has a nicer cpu architecture and some unique features, but again the available parts don't have the configuration and packaging options that the AVRs do. Plus, I think recent ARMs have surpassed the 430's in power efficiency despite being 32 bits wide instead of 16. TI itself seems to be moving away from the 430 line towards the Cortex M4.
In comp.arch.embedded Paul Rubin <no.email@nospam.invalid> wrote:
...
> decent gcc-based tool chains. As mentioned, I don't know of ARM parts > directly comparable to the more popular AVR's (PDIP packages for > breadboard prototyping, 5-volt tolerant i/o, etc). ARMs also seem more > complex to program than AVR (e.g. in terms of the stuff required on > startup) but maybe that's my imagination.
Take a STM32 Nucleo 32 and you can use it as PDIP with USB port for debugging, communication and file upload... -- Uwe Bonnes bon@elektron.ikp.physik.tu-darmstadt.de Institut fuer Kernphysik Schlossgartenstrasse 9 64289 Darmstadt --------- Tel. 06151 1623569 ------- Fax. 06151 1623305 ---------
> You are saying Atmel would change the functionality of a part in > production? That's pretty bad!
There were some cases of early EOLs, but I think they were prior 2000 in the first years of the AVR. Now the family is stable. I know chips older than 10 years which I suspect we'll also see in the next 10 years... I'm also not aware of any EOL in the recent years.
On 28/07/16 09:03, Paul Rubin wrote:
> Les Cargill <lcargill99@comcast.com> writes: >> There are a lot of choices. ARM Mx, PICxx. PICxx has many of the same >> single-source problems as AVR, but I've never caught them in the same >> "new revs are different" trap as with AVR. > > The smaller PICs seem horrible to program. AVR and ARM at least have > decent gcc-based tool chains.
This is key, as far as I am concerned. When choosing a microcontroller for a job, having a good gcc port which is supported by the manufacturer is high up on my list of deciding factors. PICs have good peripherals and are very robust microcontrollers - but you have to use painful development tools and think in PIC-style C rather than writing normal C code. (The same applies to 8051, and other such C-unfriendly cores.) The AVR has a few quirks regarding C compatibility and programming (separate address spaces for flash, and poor pointer support) - it is a sort of middle-ground between unpleasant processors and nice ones. It is a nice cpu for assembly programming, though it's a long time since I have done much of that. The ARM is great for programming. It is a nice, clean 32-bit C friendly architecture. It is hard to see what could be better in this regard. (There are plenty of other equally good ISA's, such as PPC, 68K, MIPS, etc.)
> As mentioned, I don't know of ARM parts > directly comparable to the more popular AVR's (PDIP packages for > breadboard prototyping, 5-volt tolerant i/o, etc).
PDIP packages are hardly the popular ones. For prototyping with AVRs, I expect most people use ready-made boards so that the packaging doesn't matter. It must be well over a decade since I have seen any use of breadboards for prototyping or development. There are few microcontrollers of any sort these days that will drive 5V signals, but certainly the Freescale/NXP Kinetis (Cortex M0+/M4) series are mostly 5V tolerant and some drive 5V outputs.
> ARMs also seem more > complex to program than AVR (e.g. in terms of the stuff required on > startup) but maybe that's my imagination.
It is a bit of a generalisation, but it is roughly correct. It is an inevitable consequence of greater flexibility of peripherals and core modules. An AVR runs at a given clock speed - determined by an external crystal or internal oscillator and a few "fuse bits". An ARM microcontroller might have a couple of internal oscillators, a low-power 32 kHz crystal, and a high speed crystal. Internally, it will perhaps start in one mode but software will switch it to another, maybe even with dynamic changes while running. Different parts of it will run at different speeds. There is simply more to configure - and that's just for the clocks.
> > I was a fan of the TI MSP430 line for a while, since it has a nicer cpu > architecture and some unique features, but again the available parts > don't have the configuration and packaging options that the AVRs do.
The msp430 cpu is very nice - it's the cleanest 16-bit C device I have used. (The 20-bit extensions are horrible, however.)
> Plus, I think recent ARMs have surpassed the 430's in power efficiency > despite being 32 bits wide instead of 16. TI itself seems to be moving > away from the 430 line towards the Cortex M4. >
It's always a challenge to define power efficiency - it can mean so many things. One device might have lower leakage power in standby mode, another might have lower energy required for a given calculation. In general, simpler devices like the msp430 or AVR are likely to have lower static power, but a Cortex M0+ will take much less power for processing tasks.
Il 28/07/2016 09:03, Paul Rubin ha scritto:
> I don't know of ARM parts > directly comparable to the more popular AVR's (PDIP packages for > breadboard prototyping, 5-volt tolerant i/o, etc).
Regarding 5V tolerant I/O, take a look at ARM Cortex-M0+ SAM C2x from Atmel. They can be supplied directly with 5V. Regarding ARM in DIP packages, I think there is something in NXP LPC MCUs