Step up from your old MCU to an IEEE1588 Networked Embedded Processor: Finally, the network is the microprocessor

There is a quiet revolution occurring in the industrial and general purpose MCU markets.
Indeed, networking has found its way into even the most deeply embedded devices in the
industrial, scientific, and commercial
market segments. What was once the exclusive domain of 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs performing
only a few tasks embedded in isolated equipment is now a field of applications
calling for higher performing 32-bit SoCs to handle the additional tasks of network
connectivity. Traditional sub-100MHz 32-bit RISC-based and DSP-based MCUs, burdened with
their slow speed on-chip buses and Flash, struggle under this new additional connectivity
workload. Even if these traditional Flash-based MCUs can be pushed to higher clock speeds,
the on-chip Flash and narrow 32-bit busses do not scale. It merely results in the
application “waiting faster” – no real data and I/O throughput improvement.

With on-chip speed of up to 416MHz and a wide 64-bit on-chip bus, a flexible on-chip and
off-chip memory architecture, a unique combination of ADC, DAC, a configurable Chameleon
Timer©/PWM, and a diverse connectivity package, AMCC’s PPC405EZ embedded processor
provides a low power small footprint solution-on-a-chip for a wide range of high
performance, cost-constrained embedded applications. The PPC405EZ is an easily
programmable general-purpose PowerPC 405-based microprocessor that offers an ideal upgrade
path for applications currently using 8-bit, 16-bit, RISC, or DSP MCUs needing a
performance and connectivity

This SoC is built for data and I/O traffic. The PowerPC 405 processor offers computing
power in the range from 252 DMIPS to 632 DMIPS. Due to the attention paid to high
performance on-chip bussing, this processing performance is highly unaffected by the heavy
DMA I/O traffic that typically occurs in demanding embedded and industrial applications
that now require connectivity. The PPC405EZ’s connectivity package consists of one Fast
Ethernet port with integrated IEEE1588 Precision Timing Protocol controller, three USB
1.1/2.0 Full Speed compatible
ports with integrated PHYs, and two CAN 2.0b ports. The key features making up the
industrial package are one 8-input 10-bit 300Ksps ADC, one 10-bit 30Msps DAC, and a
configurable auto-reloading 15-channel Chameleon Timer/PWM controller that significantly
offloads the CPU and software for complex timing and waveform generation
(for example, 3-phase AC motor control and quadrature encoding). The IEEE1588 Precision
Timing Protocol (PTP) controller is fully integrated directly into the analog functions,
the Chameleon Timer, and other on-chip functions to optimize performance and eliminate CPU
involvement in capturing, triggering, and time-stamping deterministic real-time events in
devices that are local or deployed across entire networks.

The PPC405EZ is unique in offering this high level of compute processing, precision
timing, and networking options in a single SoC. The PPC405EZ, with its shift away from
traditional on-chip Flash in favor of on-chip SRAM, and its shift away from traditional
external DRAM in favor of external PSRAMs and CRAMs (low power and bursting RAM products
already used pervasively
in mobile markets), enables system designers to break through the 80MHz Flash MCU
“barrier” and achieve usable high performance
and low power at a reduced eBOM. The PPC405EZ, packaged in 324-pin 23mm x 23mm EPGA and
available in industrial (-40° to +85°C) and extended (-40° to +105°C)
temperature range, is the basis for a highly scalable system design. Cost-effective 252 to
632 DMIPS-class systems—ranging from a two-chip solution (PPC405EZ+SPI boot device),
to Linux-on-a-chip and multi-chip multi-master implementations—can be built around
the PPC405EZ SoC fed by a single 33-50MHz oscillator.

Applications include:

  • Industrial control
  • High-precision AC, DC, and servo drive control
  • Instrumentation
  • Data acquisition
  • Industrial automation
  • Building and enclosure management
  • Commercial and retail systems
  • IEEE1588 Precision Timing Protocol equipment
  • Internet appliances and intelligent USB peripherals.
  • Linux and Power-over-Ethernet Thin Clients

The PPC405EZ uses a PowerPC 405 RISC CPU core with a 5-stage pipeline and 32Kbyte
instruction and data caches. On-chip bussing includes a 166MHz 64-bit Processor Local Bus
(PLB) and 83MHz 32-bit On-chip Peripheral Bus (OPB). The 83MHz 16/32-bit external bus
provides bus arbitration
for multi-master shared RAM system designs. The 32KB SRAM on-chip memory (OCM) stores
critical instructions and data, providing fast access for processing- and data-intensive
algorithms. All on-chip DMAs, as well as all other slave devices, including the external
bus, can access this OCM. External memories supported include SRAM, PSRAMs, CellularRAMs,
ROM, NOR and NAND Flash, as well as SPI-or I2C-based NVRAMs. Indeed, it is possible to
build a complete high performance embedded solution with just the PPC405EZ’s on-chip 32KB
SRAM plus one NVRAM device (NOR, NAND, SPI, or I2C). Systems ranging from simple to
multi-master configurations can be built.

Key connectivity peripherals include Ethernet,
USB, and CAN, making this an ideal processor for applications that must also act as
gateway between Ethernet, CAN, and USB networks. Also included is an IEEE1588 Precision
Timing Protocol (PTP) controller to provide precise, hard, real-time control, trigger, and
time stamping of Ethernet packets and I/O events. IEEE1588 is rapidly gaining popularity
as an open standard synchronization
protocol for “taming” Ethernet and TCP/IP for use in precisely synchronizing
events (for example, sensor capture, task and event triggering) among literally thousands
of devices deployed across any LAN hierarchy. The 405EZ’s fully integrated,
next-generation approach to IEEE1588 PTP over Ethernet makes the PPC405EZ optimized for
the rapidly growing number of real-time networked control applications—
not just in the industrial market that initiated this IEEE standard, but in any market
segment needing cost-effective network
synchronization and event triggering. Additionally, two USB 1.1/2.0 Full Speed compatible
Host ports, and one USB 1.1/2.0 Full Speed compatible Device port (all with Full Speed
PHYs) are integrated on-chip, as well as two CAN 2.0B channels containing 32 Rx buffers
(each with its own message filter) and 32 Tx buffers.

As its name implies, the Chameleon Timer’s configurable nature allows system designers to
mimic virtually any type of existing timer architecture, or create their own customer mix
of timer elements. This is in sharp contrast to traditional timer controllers architected
and hardwired by a chip designer to a particular preconceived notion of how a timer should
be built and used in a particular application. At the same time, the Chameleon Timer
enables system designers to construct complex timing functions requiring deterministic
behavior without resorting to specialized complex scripting or DSP programming languages
(and hard-to-find specialized expertise). The configurable, auto-reloading Chameleon
Timer offloads the CPU and software significantly in even the most complex timing
algorithms, thus freeing up the CPU and bus bandwidth for use elsewhere in the customer’s
application. Just a few examples of these complex real-time functions are: PWM and space
vector PWM functions with non-overlap times, quadrature encoder sensing and control,
programmable “deadband”
intervals, pulse period measurement, 48-bit input capture function, and 48-bit output
compare function. Additionally, the Chameleon Timer has automatic up, down, and
up-then-down counting with modulus. It uses an autonomous Timer Service Engine (TSE) and a
RAM-based programmable register array to manage its fifteen 24-bit timer channels, which
can be paired to provide
48¬-bit timers. Each Chameleon Timer channel has 2 timebase sources available
simultaneously: Timebase A and Timebase B. These timebases may either be clocked
internally by the 405EZ’s on-chip system clock, by an external clock source via an input
pin, or synchronized to the IEEE1588 PTP network clock. The Chameleon Timer’s ability to
use IEEE1588 PTP network clock as a timebase allows the system designer to timestamp and
trigger events across an entire IEEE1588 PTP network of nodes. It does this very simply,
precisely, and accurately
without CPU, software, and interrupts being involved in the critical path, thus avoiding
synchronization jitter.

In addition to the Chameleon Timer, the industrial peripherals include a DAC, and an ADC.
The ADC has eight analog inputs (3.3V) muxed into a single high precision, 10-bit 300K
samples-per-second ADC converter. The DAC has one analog current output (6mA swing max at
3.3V) capable of 30M samples-per-second. ADC and DAC channels
can be triggered directly by Chameleon Timer channels and other on-chip entities, and are
capable of buffering as many as 32 values before asserting an interrupt or DMA request.

So, gone are the days when a system designer/programmer would struggle with synchronizing
just a few realtime I/O events across a single chip or even across a single board, let
alone I/O events across an entire network. With this SoC, the system designer can control
tightly synchronized I/O events across an entire network of devices, whether the devices
are motors and actuators, cellular base stations, or audio/video components. Finally, with
the PPC405EZ IEEE1588 networked
microprocessor, “the network is the microprocessor.”


– 130 nm CMOS

Performance (estimate)

– 252 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS @ 166 MHz.
– 632 Dhrystone 2.1 MIPS @ 416 MHz


– CPU: 166-416 MHz

– PLB: 166 MHz Maximum

– OPB: 83 MHz Maximum

– External Bus: 83 MHz Maximum

Power Dissipation

– <1.5W maximum (@ 416MHz), <= 0.60W typical Case Temperature Range

– Extended Range: -40°C to +105°C

Power Supply

– 1.5V (internal logic), 3.3V (I/O), 3.3V (external bus)


– 324-pin PBGA 23mm x 23mm (with 1mm ball pitch)

Contact Information


215 Moffet Park Drive
Sunnyvale, CA, 94089

tele: 858.450.9333
toll-free: 800.840.6055
fax: 858.450.9885

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