Ramtron Launches FRAM-Enhanced MCU

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), a leading developer and supplier of nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) and integrated semiconductor products, launched the VRS51L3174, an 8051-based microcontroller with 8 kilobytes (KB) of nonvolatile FRAM memory that drops into industry standard 44-pin QFP sockets for easy device migration. Ramtron has added FRAM to its fast and flexible Versa 8051s for a quick and reliable nonvolatile data storage and processing system that only a FRAM-enhanced MCU can provide.

The VRS51L3174 combines 8KB of FRAM memory with a fully-integrated, high-performance system-on-chip. Features include an advanced 40-MIPS, single-cycle 8051-core, 64KB Flash with in-system/in-application programming, 4KB SRAM, digital signal processing (DSP) extensions and a robust digital peripheral set. Operating at 3.3 volts over the entire industrial temperature range, the VRS51L3174 is the ideal embedded data acquisition solution, targeting a wide array of advanced applications from sensors and metering to industrial control, instrumentation and medical devices.

VRS51L3174 Features
8K x 8 FRAM: 8KB of true nonvolatile RAM (no battery/super cap required to maintain data) mapped into the VRS51L3174's XRAM memory for easy access, fast writes and essentially unlimited endurance.

40MHz, Single-Cycle 8051 Processor: This is one of the fastest 8-bit processors on the market. Its advanced core can deliver up to 40 MIPS throughput and is instruction-compatible with standard 8051s, for smooth device migration.

MULT/ACCU/DIV Unit with 32-bit Barrel Shifter: This hardware calculation engine significantly outperforms 8-bit processors when executing DSP operations (FIR filtering, sensor output linearization, multiple-byte arithmetic operations, etc). It performs 16-bit signed multiplication and 32-bit addition in one cycle and 16-bit signed division in 5 cycles. The barrel shifter enables logic/arithmetic shift operations.

40MHz Internal Oscillator: The internal oscillator cuts system costs by eliminating the need for an external crystal oscillator.

USB-JTAG Interface: For user-friendly and quick device programming and real-time, in-circuit debugging/emulation of the user application without the need for a costly emulator.

Dual UARTs with Baud Rate Generator: The universal asynchronous receiver/transmitters operate at up to 1.25 Mbps. Each UART incorporates a dedicated baud rate generator with 20-bit equivalent resolution.

Enhanced SPI: The communication speed on the serial peripheral interface can be configured up to 20 Mbps and transactions are adjustable from 1 to 32 bits.

PWCs: Two pulse width counter modules provide advanced timer control, simplifying event duration measurement.

PWMs: Eight pulse width modulators with up to 16-bit adjustable resolution. Each PWM includes its own timer, which can also be used as general purpose timers.

Other support peripherals include an I2C interface, three 16-bit general purpose timers/counters with three timer capture inputs, a watchdog timer, and 49 interrupts that share 16 interrupt vectors. The VRS51L3174 is available in a QFP-44 package that is pin-compatible with standard 8051 MCUs.

FRAM instead of Flash/EEPROM for nonvolatile data storage
FRAM simplifies the design cycle by eliminating the code overhead accompanying Flash data storage, and the limited endurance and drawn out write cycles of Flash/EEPROM. Unlike Flash, FRAM bytes can be modified without first erasing an entire sector, rendering it easier to use. And unlike Flash/EEPROM, FRAM provides virtually unlimited read/write cycles and fast data writes.

Pricing and Availability
The VRS51L3174 is currently sampling and costs under $5 for quantities of 10,000. For more information about Ramtron's FRAM-Enhanced MCUs, visit the Web site.

About Ramtron
Ramtron International Corporation, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets specialized semiconductor memory and integrated semiconductor solutions used in a wide range of product applications and markets worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site.