Renesas Electronics has announced a group of microprocessors (MPU) that enables both a high-definition human-machine interface (HMI) and quick startup for applications that require high throughput and real-time capabilities. The new RZ/A3UL MPUs, says the company, allow customers to achieve the full potential of a real-time operating system (RTOS) while leveraging the performance boost provided by the 64-bit Arm Cortex-A55 CPU core with a maximum operating frequency of 1 GHz.
Using an RTOS allows systems to start up instantly, in less than a second after boot-up. This feature is ideal for systems that require a fast response time such as industrial equipment, home appliances and office automation equipment with liquid crystal displays or control panels, as well as audio equipment and POS terminals.
The RZ/A3UL MPUs integrate an Octal-SPI memory interface that facilitates simpler and more compact board designs. In addition, the devices include versions that support a DDR3L/DDR4 memory interface to enable connection of high-speed DRAM. For example, the DDR3L/DDR4 memory interface achieves a data transfer speed that is approximately 10 times faster than the Octal-SPI memory interface, maximizing the performance needed to enable an HD (1280×720) class display and an interactive and more sophisticated HMI utilizing camera input or various types of sensors.
The RZ/A3UL supports the industry’s two leading RTOSes: FreeRTOS and Azure RTOS. Since the company is a license provider of Azure RTOS for the RZ Family, users can simply download the high-performance Azure RTOS from GitHub and get started immediately.
In addition, the company offers a Flexible Software Package including FreeRTOS and HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) drivers that developers can use as a reference when developing their own applications. An extensive suite of middleware is also available for both operating systems, further reducing the time and cost for development.
“Many customers who use RTOSes tell us that they want to retain features like excellent real-time capabilities and quick startup, but that they also want higher resolution and better performance,” says Shigeki Kato, Vice President of the Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division at Renesas. “I am confident that the RZ/A3UL will deliver the higher performance required, while still giving customers the flexibility and ease of use offered by MCUs.”
The peripheral functions and package pin assignments of the RZ/A3UL are compatible with the RZ/G2UL that employs the Cortex-A55 core targeting Linux-based HMI applications, and with the RISC-V-based RZ/Five products. This means that engineers can develop new products using the same board design, simply by replacing the chip. The compatibility between devices also allows engineers to easily transition from a product that runs an RTOS to a Linux-based product, facilitating efficient development across multiple product models.
The company has designed an HMI solution, “RTOS Based RZ/A3UL HMI SMARC SOM” that uses the RZ/A3UL and other compatible devices from Renesas and its partners’ portfolios. This “Winning Combination” is a module conforming to the industry-standard SMARC 2.1 form factor. The module incorporates devices including the DA9062 power management IC, 5P35023 programmable clock generator, AT25QL128A flash memory IC, and SLG46538 GreenPAK implementing peripheral functions such as system reset. It can be used to evaluate the RZ/A3UL and also as a reference design to help shorten development time.
The RZ/A3UL MPUs and development tools are available now.