The domestic ultra-low power MCU circuit welcomes the “golden age”, and Sinocore is in action
In recent years, with the rise of the Internet of Things, all kinds of Internet of Things devices have flooded the market. According to data and forecasts from China Industry Information Network, the number of global IoT devices in 2019 has reached 10.7 billion, and it is estimated that the number of IoT connections will reach 25.1 billion in 2025, maintaining a growth of more than 12%.
However, behind the huge market, the battery life of IoT devices has gradually become a problem that restricts the development of battery-powered IoT products. The limited battery capacity is difficult to meet the increasing battery life needs of consumers. How to improve it when the battery capacity is limited The battery life of the device? Obviously, low power consumption has become an unavoidable topic for manufacturers, and if you want to solve the power consumption problem, you must first start with the chip.
Facing the huge demand for IoT node applications in the future, ultra-low power MCUs have begun to receive more and more attention. Numerous domestic MCU manufacturers, including Sinocore, are seizing the opportunity and brewing a new wave of changes.
Internationally recognized: No. 1 on the low-power MCU list
For a long time, low power consumption has been an unavoidable technical topic in the development of the Internet of Things. System power consumption is one of the main considerations for the deployment of the Internet of Things. The reason is that most of the current Internet of Things terminal nodes are powered by batteries, and the MCU is used as the control The energy consumption level of the core components of the entire IoT node determines the overall power consumption characteristics of the IoT node. There is no doubt that low power consumption has naturally become an important indicator of MCU.
As applications of the Internet of Things gradually enter the industrial and consumer fields, higher requirements are put forward for the low power consumption and integration of MCUs. Whether it’s consumer electronics or wearable devices, as long as battery-powered IoT terminals have strict requirements for low power consumption, and the battery life of the product is also closely related to the consumer experience, the greater the energy consumption of the Electronic system, the greater the power consumption of the product. The worse the battery life, the worse the consumer experience. Conversely, the lower the energy consumption, the consumer experience will be improved.
Even in the non-consumer field, large-scale deployment of IoT nodes also need to face high maintenance costs. Because the power supply capacity of batteries cannot maintain the entire product life cycle, most products require manual replacement of batteries for maintenance. There are a large number of IoT nodes. The deployment has the characteristics of irregular spatial layout, which brings huge cost pressures to maintenance.
Under the pressure of a huge number of IoT applications, ultra-low power consumption has undoubtedly become the core competitiveness of MCUs. International MCU giants such as STMicroelectronics and Renesas semiconductor are also actively deploying ultra-low power consumption fields.
Beijing Zhongke Xinrui Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Zhongke Xinrui”) established in 2019 can be said to be a rising star in the field of domestic ultra-low power MCUs in the past two years. Wearable electronics, artificial intelligence and other fields, provide ultra-low power consumption chips and solutions, and have a number of ultra-low power integrated circuit design technologies “black technology”.
In the two years since its establishment, Sinocore has successively launched ultra-low-power MCUs, real-time clocks, low-power voice signal processors, signal conditioning and other series of products. The power consumption performance indicators of the products are at the international leading level.
Among them, XRM32UL051 is a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+-based ultra-low power MCU chip developed by Beijing Zhongke Xinrui. The maximum operating frequency can reach 48MHz, and it supports up to 64KB of program space and 18KB of SRAM storage space. According to reports, the product also supports a wealth of peripheral resources. The operating voltage is between 2.0V-3.6V and the operating temperature range is -40°C to +85°C. It can provide a variety of packaging forms to meet the needs of different applications.
XRM32UL051 Evaluation Board
In addition, XRM32UL051 adopts unique sub-threshold technology and asynchronous circuit technology, and supports multiple low power consumption modes such as ACTIVE, SLEEP, STOP and STANDBY. In various working modes, it has excellent power consumption indicators. Specifically, the power consumption of the product in operating mode is 20uA/MHz, and the power consumption in stop mode is 0.7uA, which is only 1/4~1/ of similar products in the market. 5. Extremely low energy consumption can be widely used in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, wearable electronics and other fields while achieving ideal battery life.
As we all know, the products of different microcontroller and microprocessor manufacturers in the industry are different, so it is difficult to carry out standardized evaluation of the products. In order to better evaluate the power consumption characteristics of low-power MCUs, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Association (EEMBC) has jointly launched ULPMark with major MCU manufacturers. Through the same set of algorithms and the same current test board, each product is tested Standardized assessment. As the authoritative standard for ultra-low-power MCUs, ULPMark affirmed Sinocore’s ultra-low-power technology. At present, Sinocore XRM32UL051 has passed the evaluation of ULPMark, and the evaluation score is as high as 451 points, ranking first in the world in the same core.
Innovative technical route: a combination of two ultra-low power technologies
International recognition is inseparable from the strong technical strength and excellent R&D team of Sinocore.
Generally speaking, sub-threshold circuit design is the only way for ultra-low power MCU design, because it can reduce the operating voltage of the chip to near the transistor threshold, thereby reducing static leakage and dynamic power consumption. As we all know, MCU power consumption is generally divided into static leakage and dynamic power consumption. In the static leakage part, in order to reduce leakage, what can be done is to reduce the power supply voltage and use a standard cell design with low leakage. In the part of dynamic power consumption, you can reduce the power supply voltage or reduce the ineffective switching of the circuit to reduce power consumption.
On the technical route of ultra-low power integrated circuit design, Sinocore is different from the traditional technical route. It not only uses the above-mentioned subthreshold chip design technology, but also uses asynchronous circuit design technology. Asynchronous circuit technology, that is, working in an event-triggered manner, can completely eliminate invalid flips in the circuit. More importantly, the asynchronous circuit technology can effectively solve the timing problems faced by the sub-threshold technology, and more effectively play the power optimization effect of the sub-threshold technology.
Through the combination of the two most advanced ultra-low-power technologies, Sinocore independently developed a STAS ultra-low-power design platform that includes the underlying IP library, design process, and system architecture. The product realizes the optimization effect of “1+1>2”. With the support of major national projects, the core technologies of these two core technologies have undergone more than ten years of technical accumulation and formed a unique ultra-low power chip design method with independent intellectual property rights.
According to reports, Zhongkexinrui is a high-tech enterprise incubated by the Institute of Microelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is the earliest team in China to study ultra-low power design methods and technologies. Program), National Science and Technology Major Projects (01, 02 Special Projects), Major Knowledge Innovation Projects of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Strategic Leading Science and Technology Special Projects of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gradually forming a mature and complete new ultra-low power circuit design technology system.
In addition, its R&D team has designed the first domestic sub-threshold processor for a leading company in the field of integrated circuit design in China, and various technical indicators have achieved a “zero breakthrough” in the country.
Strong hard power not only made Sinocore won the first place in the MCU low power consumption list, but also won the support of the Science and Technology Service Network Plan (STS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences as well as the Zhongguancun High-tech Enterprise, Haidian District, Beijing The title and qualifications of the germ company. This year, Xinrui XRM32UL051 won the “Xinhuo Emerging Product” award in the 16th “China Core” outstanding product solicitation, which also shows that its ultra-low power consumption products have been recognized by the domestic industry.
“China Core” Trophy
“Expanding Territory”: Maintaining the leading position of ultra-low power consumption technology
Judging from the current technology development trend, the demand for low-power MCUs in the IoT ecosystem and consumer electronics will continue to increase. In other words, the ultra-low-power MCU market will usher in rapid growth. According to MarketsandMarkets data, the ultra-low-power microcontroller market size was 4.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and will grow to 12.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.1%.
Faced with the ever-increasing demand for product power consumption in the terminal market, Sinocore, which is characterized by technological leadership, will continue to achieve excellent performance through technological breakthroughs and create technical barriers.
In response to the increasing demand for edge computing in some Internet of Things application scenarios, traditional MCUs cannot cope with such computing needs. Corecore plans to launch a lightweight AIoT processor with a RISC-V core + AI engine. At the same time, in order to enrich the product line to deal with more application scenarios, Sinocore will launch more general-purpose ultra-low power MCUs with more cores in the future. In addition, Sinocore will also launch customized ultra-low power MCUs for applications in the medical and energy metering industries to further improve the market competitiveness of customer products. In addition to building barriers in the technical field, Sinocore will also put forward higher requirements for intellectual property protection. Due to the adoption of innovative sub-threshold chip design technology and the technical route of asynchronous circuit design technology, at present, Sinocore has applied for nearly 30 invention patents in related fields. According to reports, in the early stage of development, Sinocore focused on the patent layout of core technology points. In the future, it will adopt the method of face-to-face for patent deployment, and strive to form interconnected patent groups and patent pools in multiple characteristic fields. In 2024, it has more than 50 core invention patents, and builds an intellectual property protection system that comprehensively protects innovative technologies.
With the continuous emergence of innovative terminal products, Sinocore, as a leader in ultra-low power consumption technology, will continue to “expand its territory”, continue to increase R&D and production investment, continue to expand product lines, and enrich product application scenarios .
Write at the end
The current MCU market in China is vast. Morgan Stanley’s Asia Pacific Greater China semiconductor industry research team believes that China’s MCU localized companies’ production demand growth rate will increase significantly, from an average annual rate of 5% from 2017 to 2020, accelerating to 20- An average annual growth rate of 25% until 2025.
Under the epidemic, the global “core shortage” crisis and geopolitical frictions, localization may become a rigid demand, and the Chinese MCU market will also usher in a new turning point, and ultra-low power MCUs are no exception.
Ricardo de Sa Earp, vice president of STMicroelectronics and general manager of the microcontroller business unit, once said: “In the past five years, ST microcontrollers have almost doubled their global share, and STM32 ultra-low power microcontrollers have been released. The volume has so far exceeded 2 billion. ST has a strong advantage in the category of ultra-low-power microcontrollers, and has a market share of about 25%.” From this, it can be speculated that the global ultra-low-power microcontroller market is more than 10 billion. .
This shows that the domestic low-power MCU circuit is expected to usher in the “golden age”. Behind the vast market space is the “expectable” technological development, and we look forward to making a bigger breakthrough in the field of ultra-low power consumption.