Adesto Technologies, a leading provider of application-specific, ultra-low power non-volatile memory products, has introduced EcoXiP, a new eXecute-in-Place (XiP) non-volatile memory (NVM) that replaces expensive, energy-inefficient architectures, making power and performance trade-offs unnecessary in a wide range of connected IoT devices. EcoXiP more than doubles processor performance, lowers system power consumption and reduces system cost compared to standard serial peripheral interface (SPI) devices.

Embedded devices such as wearables, medical monitors, POS controllers and other connected embedded systems must be designed to handle more intelligent local data processing. The associated higher levels of functionality, new wireless protocol stacks and advanced software mean these IoT devices need more program memory than what can be implemented economically on-chip using embedded Flash or SRAM memory, and less than what is offered by the smallest DRAM devices. Until now, to hit performance targets, system designers have been required to invest in memory solutions that are expensive, power-hungry and performance limiting.

Built on an innovative memory and protocol architecture, EcoXiP overcomes these challenges.

“Demand for higher performance, lower power and lower cost in connected embedded IoT devices presents a challenge to system designers who find that existing solutions no longer meet requirements,” said Narbeh Derhacobian, chief executive officer of Adesto Technologies. “EcoXiP is designed from the ground-up to be the ultimate solution for serving as the main program memory in an intelligent IoT system.”

The EcoXiP Advantage

eXecute-in-Place (XiP) technology holds great promise for small embedded systems since it doesn’t suffer from the disadvantages of executing from on-chip embedded Flash or SRAM. Unlike with embedded Flash, an MCU can be implemented with an external XiP solution using latest process technologies, leading to better power consumption, higher frequency and lower system cost. Unlike embedded SRAM, an XiP Flash device can be turned off so it won’t consume any power during power-down modes. In addition, EcoXiP offers designers the flexibility of increasing memory capacity as their storage needs increase. However, even state-of-the-art XiP solutions suffer from a lack of performance along with high power consumption and increased system cost.

EcoXiP brings together all of the advantages of traditional XiP systems over on-chip memory, but its novel architecture means tradeoffs are no longer necessary. Benefits of EcoXiP include:

  • High system performance: unlike existing Serial Flash devices, EcoXiP delivers 2.4X CPU performance compared to existing quad devices and 1.4X CPU performance compared to best-in-class octal devices
  • Optimized latency and throughput: a high-speed, octal DDR interface with a proprietary pre-fetching scheme reduces the effective latency dramatically and delivers superior CPU performance
  • Concurrent Read/Write capability: designers can reduce system cost since in most cases there is no need for an additional Flash device to handle over-the-air updates or data logging
  • Memory size flexibility: optimized densities from 32Mb to 128Mb enable IoT SoC designers to optimize for their specific application, with the ability to change memory capacity as their needs change without the expense of redesigning their SoCs
  • Process scalability: SoC vendors can design their chips with less embedded Flash or even no embedded Flash, allowing them to migrate to process nodes that do not support Flash such as 28nm and finer geometries, leading to faster, lower-power and lower-cost SoCs
  • Best standby power: configurable strength IO pins and a range of power management features lead to improved device and system power consumption
  • Enhanced security with on-chip unique-ID One-Time Programmable (OTP) security registers

SPI host controllers for EcoXiP are available from Adesto IP partners including Mobiveil and Synopsys.

Supporting Quotes

“The high performance and concurrent read/write capability of Adesto’s EcoXiP memories have the potential to dramatically impact the customer experience for IoT and Industrial applications,” said Emmanuel Sambuis, NXP Semiconductors vice president, MCU & connectivity. “The NXP MCU and i.MX products will support this differentiated technology through an enhanced memory controller, enabling customers to take full advantage of these memories.”

“As the IoT market evolves, designers are faced with the challenges of increasing memory performance with lower power budgets in smaller footprints,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and prototyping at Synopsys. “Providing interoperability between Synopsys’ DesignWare High-Performance Synchronous Serial Interface IP with XiP functionality and Adesto’s EcoXiP NVM enables designers to increase the memory access speed in low-cost, energy-efficient IoT applications.”

“EcoXiP is an advancement over other flash products, particularly for IoT applications that require relatively large code size and high-performance XiP capability. This new processor-optimized device shows Adesto’s commitment and understanding of the needs of intelligent IoT devices. Such optimization, which is common in the SoC world, is now seean in specialized memory devices.” – Linley Gwennap, principal analyst, The Linley Group.

Samples of Adesto’s EcoXiP are available to lead customers now. Adesto is sampling a 32Mb device at introduction, with a family of densities planned for the future.

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