Have you been on the lookout for a deeply embedded board capable of rendering good quality HMI interfaces with the capabilities you normally find on microcontrollers? You may want to take a look at the new STM32H7 series of MCU’s, as they are the industry’s first ARM Cortex-M7 core with embedded Flash memory, running at a stunning core speed of 550 MHz!
But what exactly are we looking at here? First off, at 550 MHz, these single-core devices have the fastest core speed on the market for an MCU that integrates Flash storage on-chip to run deeply embedded applications. They are available with up to 1 MB of Flash memory, enabling them to perform very well while keeping the costs low. But you are not limited, as they can interact with external storage while keeping security and performance in mind too. To help with memory-hungry applications (like high resolution, colorful graphical interfaces, and video), they are aided by features such as the Flexible Memory Controller (FMC) and Octal SPI memory interface. This allows you to go even further when it comes to creating more immersive and refined user experiences.
Regarding specifications, we are looking at Cortex-M7 core with:
- 32 kB I-Cache and D-cache
- Tightly couple instruction RAM (ITCRAM) with remapping for zero latency in time-critical routines
- FMAC (filtering) and Cordic (trigonometric) blocks for mathematical acceleration
- Advanced analog peripherals, such as 2x 16-bit ADC’s and 1x 12-bit low power ADC and interfaces to popular industrial connectivity interfaces
- Superior graphical performance with the ST Chrom-ART Accelerator
Regarding software, the TouchGFX framework and Designer are going to help you create those beautiful user interfaces you are looking for, and are available for free. You can also dip your feet in neural networks, and other AI technologies, thanks to the STM32Cube.AI, to bring your neural networks, machine learning, and computer vision projects to life easily. When it comes to security, you get the STM32Trust security suite, which supports on-the-fly decryption (OTFDEC), enabling encrypted code to be run from external memory and secure firmware install (SFI), letting OEM’s order standard products from anywhere, to be programmed only with encrypted code. These two features safeguard the intellectual property in the Flash memory. You also get some other features such as secure boot support, symmetric (hardware / software), and asymmetric (software) encryption and cryptographic key provisioning, among other things. Concluding, their ecosystem can get you started on projects easily, along with the popular development environments from ARM and IAR.