Crossover processors are built using applications processors chassis, delivering a high level of integration, high speed peripherals, enhanced security, and engines for enhanced user experience (for example, 2D/3D graphics); but also utilizing a low-power MCU core running a real-time operating system like RTOS. Crossover processing helps MCU customers move up to applications processor-level of performance while staying with their current tool chain.
Crossover processors is a term defined by NXP in June 2017, with the first i.MX RT device (the i.MX RT1050) launched in October 2017. In 2019, NXP expanded crossover processing with the i.MX 7ULP, now offering both i.MX RT crossover MCUs and i.MX crossover applications processors.
The i.MX RT Series
i.MX RT series is NXP’s line of crossover MCUs. Products are built using i.MX technology and have performance over 400 MHz. The wider Cortex-M portfolio from NXP is still readily available and continues to grow, especially within the popular LPC and Kinetis portfolios of microcontrollers. i.MX RT series simply bridges the gap between the traditional MCUs and the applications processor space, allowing MCU customers a path for significant performance and integration improvements, without sacrificing ease-of-use.
The i.MX RT1010 expands the i.MX RT crossover MCU families by providing the lowest-cost Arm® Cortex-M7® in the market, coupled with a high-performance feature set in low-cost LQFP packages, further simplifying board design and layout for customers. The i.MX RT1010 runs on the Arm® Cortex-M7® core at up to 500 MHz.
The i.MX RT products are essentially MCUs that shed the burden of on-chip flash, which not only reduces the cost, but it also helps enable higher frequency operation for increased processor performance—which in turn lets product designers boost capabilities, increase efficiency and add more features. The i.MX RT series is built on applications processors’ chassis fully utilizing the scaling benefits of advanced technology nodes (40nm and smaller). SRAM is further configured within the crossover design architecture to function as TCM with ‘zero-wait’ single cycle access to dramatically increase system performance. This key design feature enables the crossover processor’s effective performance to be significantly better than any traditional MCU counterpart. The FlexSPI interface also provides memory expansion for external serial Flash / PSRAM, Quad or Octal data lines.
FlexIO is a highly configurable module providing a wide range of functionality including emulation of a variety of communication protocols such as UART, I2C, SPI, I2S. This means that customers using the i.MX RT series have the ultimate flexibility in their design to add more of the peripherals they need. Additionally, the FlexIO module consists of a flexible 16-bit timers with support for a variety of trigger, reset, enable and disable conditions. The FlexIO module has programmable logic blocks for implementing digital logic functions on-chip and programmable state machine for offloading basic system control functions from the CPU.
Overview of the MIMXRT1010 EVK Board
i.MX RT Series Web Page: nxp.com/iMXRT
i.MXRT1010 Family Web Page: nxp.com/iMXRT1010
i.MX RT1010 EVK Web Page (available Oct 10, 2019): nxp.com/MIMXRT1010-EVK
i.MX RT Fact Sheet: nxp.com/docs/en/fact-sheet/I.MXRT1050FS.pdf