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New High Speed 8051-Compatible Microcontroller from Dallas Semiconductor
Dallas's new DS89C420 can operate up to 50MHz
Dallas Semiconductor has released the DS89C420 Ultra High-Speed Microcontroller,
the first completely 8051-compatible microcontroller to achieve peak processing speeds of one machine
instruction per clock cycle, or 50 MIPS (million instructions per second) at a maximum clock speed of 50 MHz.
This new benchmark represents a 50-fold performance gain over the original 8051 design and a six-fold gain
over the next-fastest 8051 microcontrollers, which Dallas also pioneered.
Besides record-breaking speed, the DS89C420 features 16 kilobytes of Flash memory that allows programming in any of three modes:
in-system, in-application or standard parallel programming.
These enhancements result from a new redesign of the 8051 processing core and
advanced memory address/access methods. At the same time, the DS89C420
remains 100% pin- and instruction-set compatible with existing 8051-based systems.
The familiar 8-bit 8051 architecture is widely used in control and
interface functions for computer sub-systems and peripherals, household
appliances, data and communications equipment, and industrial control and
other commercial equipment. Using Dallas's unique In-System Flash
programming approach with the industry-standard pin-out, the DS89C420 can
be assembled and shipped erased in the end equipment, then programmed
on-site for application-specific purposes.
Or it can simply replace an existing 8051-type microcontroller for significantly higher performance.
Frank Taylor, Dallas' product manager for microcontrollers, said,
“Aside from design compatibility, all microcontrollers remain subject to
one major performance gauge: the speed at which they execute instructions.
The need for faster processing led to Dallas' first redesign of the 8051,
which reduced the number of clock cycles per machine instruction from 12
“We still wanted to break limits, however, so we overhauled the design
again. The product of that effort, the DS89C420, is ultra high-speed and
flexible. The maximum crystal speed has increased from 33 MHz to 50 MHz.
Instead of 12 cycles or even 4, the DS89C420 uses one clock cycle to
process many instructions, achieving 50 MIPS at peak performance.”
“This performance increase enables our 8051 design to more than meet
the challenge from RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) chips, which
reduce the program instruction set to achieve speed. It potentially takes
several RISC instructions to achieve the same result as one 8051
instruction. The DS89C420 has both superior speed and the power of the
full 8051 instruction set.”
Flexible Memory Resources and Flash Programming
The DS89C420's unique memory architecture contributes to faster processing and
extends the concept of field programmability. Internal memory management
logic enables application software to dynamically configure on-chip memory
blocks by executing user software in one block while reprogramming the
other. When that block is reprogrammed, software can switch the blocks so
that the other can be erased and reprogrammed. The Flash boot loader
supports in-system programming through the serial port, opening the entire
Flash memory to an external program source. For a third programming mode,
the DS89C420 also supports standard Flash or EPROM programmers.
In general, software written for existing 8051-based systems works with
the DS89C420, with the exception of critical timing routines. Due to its
innately greater speed, the DS89C420 provides a stretch cycle feature and
page or non-page memory interface modes to enable communication with
slower external memory and peripherals.
The DS89C420 features two data pointers
that can be used to move blocks of data both forwards and backwards. This
unique capability to automatically increment or decrement the data pointer
reduces the number of instruction steps and increases the speed of
operation. Other resources include 13 interrupt sources with five priority
levels instead of three, three 16-bit timer/counters and a watchdog timer.
An internal clock divider circuit enables Power Management Mode, where the
DS89C420 selects a processing speed based on software input and maintains
all processes at lower power states without shutting down. Additionally, a
clock multiplier is included to allow full-speed operation from lower
speed, more readily available crystals.
The company's Web site address is www.maximintegrated.com.
[Reprinted with kind permission from Maxim Integrated]