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Hitachi Crams SDRAM Into the Office

Hitachi Semiconductor Monday took the wraps off a new microcontroller (MCU) it says will help automate networked devices around the office.

The San Jose, Calif.-based division of the Japanese owned company said its new H8S/2674R is a 33 MHz 16-bit device with a built-in SDRAM interface for better connection to inexpensive SDRAM memory. The idea is to enhance short-term computer memory to let printers, scanners and fax machines better connect with systems like high-speed buffer products allowing for better content download from the Internet or handheld devices.

The company is targeting its MCUs for products coming out early next year. Currently, OEMs are making only limited DRAM purchases, now that the holiday-season is in full swing.

"[This] is an excellent choice for high-performance, cost- and power-sensitive applications that require moderate amounts of external SDRAM memory," said Hitachi product marketing manager Hank Pawlowicz. "By interfacing directly with high-speed external SDRAM memory, the device is able to handle memory-intensive operations more efficiently."

The MCU is the first device among more than 200 H8S Series devices to offer an SDRAM interface. For small programming, this device also has an on-chip 32-kilobyte (KB) SRAM to execute time-critical routines.

To help reduce system chip count, the H8S/2674R MCU includes a direct memory access controller, data transfer controller, 6-channel 16-bit timer pulse unit, programmable pulse generator and a watchdog timer. The chip also has a 12-channel 10-bit analog-to-digital converter, 4-channel 8-bit digital-to-analog converter, clock pulse generator with phase-locked-loop, and a 3-channel serial communication interface with IrDA and serial bus capabilities.

The MCU has up to 115 I/O lines, some of which have programmable pull-ups and open drains, as well as Schmitt trigger and interrupt capabilities.

Hitachi said the H8S/2674R has six power down modes, including sleep, clock division, module-stop, all-module clock stop, software standby and hardware standby modes. An all-module clock stop mode allows software to shut down peripheral functions and even the CPU when they aren't being used.

The company is also offering the H8S/2674R device in a ROMless version. For manufacturers who need to perform more complex on-board programming.

Other versions of the H8S Series MCUs are available with large on-chip flash memory or Mask ROM. The H8S/2678 and 2677 devices are pin-compatible with the H8S/2674R MCU so that engineers can easily upgrade or modify their systems.