ElectronicsEmbedded & MCUExplainerMicrocontrollers

What is an embedded processor?

The embedded processor is the core of the embedded system and is a hardware unit that controls and assists the operation of the system. According to its current status, embedded processors can be divided into embedded microprocessors, embedded microcontrollers, embedded DSP processors and embedded systems on chip.

Embedded microprocessors

Embedded microprocessors are processors with more than 32 bits and have higher performance. Unlike computers, in actual embedded applications, only functional hardware closely related to embedded applications is retained. Compared with industrial control computers, embedded microprocessors have the advantages of small size, light weight, low cost and high reliability, but ROM, RAM, bus interface, various peripherals and other devices must be included on the circuit board, which reduces the reliability of the system and has poor technical confidentiality. The embedded microprocessor and its memory, bus, peripherals, etc. are installed on a circuit board, which is called a single-board computer, such as STD-BUS, PC104, etc. In recent years, some companies in Germany and Japan have developed a series of OEM products of embedded computers in the size of “matchbox” business cards. The main embedded microprocessors currently include Am186/88, 386EX, SC400, Power PC, 68000, MIPS, ARM series, etc.

Embedded DSP processors

DSP processors have specially designed system structures and instructions to make them suitable for executing DSP algorithms, with high compilation efficiency and high instruction execution speed. In terms of digital filtering, FFT, spectrum analysis, etc., DSP algorithms are entering the embedded field in large quantities. DSP applications are transitioning from implementing DSP functions with ordinary instructions in general-purpose single-chip microcomputers to using embedded DSP processors. There are two sources of development for embedded DSP processors: one is that DSP processors become embedded DSP processors after being monolithicized, EMC-modified, and adding on-chip peripherals. TI’s TMS320C2000/C5000 and others belong to this category; the other is to add an I)SP coprocessor to a general-purpose single-chip microcomputer or SoC, such as Intel’s MCS-296 and Siemens’ TriCore. Another factor driving the development of embedded DSP processors is the intelligence of embedded systems, such as various consumer products with intelligent logic, biometric information recognition terminals, keyboards with encryption and decryption algorithms, ADSL access, real-time voice compression systems, virtual reality displays, etc. Such intelligent algorithms generally have a large amount of calculations, especially vector operations, pointer linear addressing, etc., which are exactly the strengths of DSP processors.

Embedded microcontrollers

The typical representative of embedded microcontrollers is single-chip microcomputers. Embedded microcontrollers generally take a certain microprocessor core as the core, and the chip integrates various necessary functional modules such as Flash, RAM, EEPROM, bus, bus logic, timer/counter serial port, etc. In order to adapt to different application requirements, generally a series of single-chip microcomputers has a variety of derivative products. The processor core of each derivative product is the same, and the difference is the configuration and packaging of the memory and peripherals. In this way, the single-chip microcomputer can match the application requirements to the maximum extent, with neither too many nor too few functions, thereby reducing power consumption and cost. Compared with embedded microprocessors, the biggest feature of microcontrollers is single-chip – the volume is greatly reduced, thereby reducing power consumption and cost, and improving reliability. Microcontrollers are the mainstream of the current embedded system industry. The on-chip peripheral resources of microcontrollers are generally rich and suitable for control, so they are called microcontrollers.

Embedded System on Chip (SOC

Embedded System on Chip (SOC) System on chip is a product that combines many functional modules and puts the entire system on a chip. SOC is divided into general and special types. General ones include M-Core and some ARM series devices. Special SOC is generally dedicated to a certain system or a certain type of system and is not known to general users.

These are all embedded processors. Moreover, embedded processors are divided into four categories, each of which has different functions and uses. Only by understanding them thoroughly can you master embedded processors.

Harshvardhan Mishra

Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. Tech enthusiast and IT professional with a B.Tech in IT, PG Diploma in IoT from CDAC, and 6 years of industry experience. Founder of HVM Smart Solutions, blending technology for real-world solutions. As a passionate technical author, I simplify complex concepts for diverse audiences. Let's connect and explore the tech world together! If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee! Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Linkedin

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