ADI Blackfin processors break price/performance barriers for industrial apps

adibf50xNorwood, Mass. — Analog Devices, Inc. has launched the latest additions to its Blackfin family of processors for converged digital signal and control processing applications. ADI says the Blackfin BF50x series delivers up to 100 percent greater performance than competing, comparably priced processors with integrated analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and flash memory.

As a result, the BF50x series processors enable designers to achieve significant gains in signal conversion and computational precision, and apply advanced power control techniques to yield greater energy efficiency for industrial applications, says ADI.

Analog Devices also introduced a low-cost EZ-KIT Lite evaluation platform for the Blackfin BF50x series, providing a cost-effective entry point for processor evaluation.

Blackfin BF50x processors deliver up to 400 MHz of performance at a price point where 150-200-MHz clock speeds have been the norm, extending high-performance digital signal processing capabilities to a wider range of applications, including those previously serviced by high-end microcontrollers. This performance headroom enables designers to achieve greater system functionality and precision through the use of more sophisticated algorithms, and allows greater flexibility to optimize system interface and control capabilities, says ADI.

Designers can also use more advanced software tools and libraries for code generation, which helps shorten product development cycles and speed time to market without compromising on processor cost, says ADI.

Blackfin BF50x processors combine industry-standard interfaces with a high-performance signal processing core to ensure that applications can be developed quickly and cost-effectively, without the need for external components. With optional integrated dual-SAR 12-bit ADI ADCs for more accurate data conversion and 4 MB of on-board executable flash memory, Blackfin BF50x processors minimize off-chip components to lower overall system costs.

The Blackfin BF50x series also introduces a new peripheral to the Blackfin portfolio — the ADC Control Module (ACM) — which provides a low-overhead, precise means to synchronize ADC sampling with external events.

Target applications include energy-efficient industrial control and automation systems ranging from power inverters, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), power and motion control to smart metering and advanced sensing applications including power metering and flow/level metering.

Berkeley Design Technology, Inc.’s (BDTI) DSP Kernel Benchmarks results for the Blackfin BF504 place it ahead of all other competing, BDTI-benchmarked processors in terms of speed-per-dollar ratio for fixed-point processors.

The Blackfin BF504 obtained a BDTIsimMark2000/$ score of 498, based on a BDTIsimMark2000 of 2240 and a cost of $4.50. The BDTIsimMark2000 provides a summary measure of signal processing speed distilled from the BDTI DSP Kernel Benchmarks, which are among the most widely used digital signal processing benchmarks in the world.

Third-parties providing value-added design services and technology for Blackfin BF50x include Boston Engineering, Advanced Energy Conversion, and Schmid Engineering.

Availability: Processors are sampling to customers. The EZ-KIT Lite evaluation kits are available from ADI’s authorized distributors.

Pricing: The BF50x family includes the BF504 starting at $4.50, the BF504F with integrated flash memory starting at $6.50, and the BF506F with integrated flash memory and ADC starting at $10.60, all based on quantities of 10,000. The EZ-KIT Lite evaluation kits, including an evaluation suite of ADI’s VisualDSP++ development environment, are priced at $199. ADI also offers a $150 Blackfin emulator (ADZS-ICE-100B).

Analog Devices Blackfin BF50x Background Information, Analog Devices Blackfin BF50x Overview Video, BlackFin BF50x datasheet, and BDTI’s Blackfin BF50x Benchmark Results