NEC's MCU touts 128KB of on-chip flash 

Posted : 17 Nov 2004

      NEC Electronics Corp.'s 78K0/Kx2 series of 8bit microcontrollers (MCUs) with up to 128KB of flash memory are targeted at a wide range of home appliances, consumer electronic products, industrial equipment, automotive systems, lighting systems and sensors. The units employ SuperFlash technology licensed from Silicon Storage Technology Inc. and are manufactured in a 0.15µm process.

     The series offers memory capacities ranging from 8KB to 128KB in 30- to 80-pin packages. The MCUs also boast operating speeds up to 20MHz and power supply voltages ranging from 1.8V to 5.5V, while reducing operating current to 2.5mA, less than one-third of similar mask ROM MCUs. Additionally, all of these features are available without a cost premium, as products in the 78K0/Kx2 series have price points comparable to previous mask ROM products from NEC manufactured in 0.35µm process technology.

     "Eight-bit MCUs are shipping in significant volume as they become more and more prevalent in today's appliances and industrial equipment," said Yoichi Yano, associate vice president for NEC's 4th Systems Operations Unit.

      NEC will offer a service to assist developers with flash programming, scheduled to start next month for the 78K0S/Kx1+ series, and in April 2005 for the 78K0/Kx2 series. These services, together with tools such as on-chip debuggers and flash programmers, will help reduce the time and cost customers currently spend on programming and enable approximately 50 percent faster turnaround times compared to similar mask ROM products, according to the company.

      Samples of the 78K0/Kx2 are scheduled to begin shipping in January 2005. Pricing for individual products in the 78K0/Kx2 line will vary based on the configuration. For example, the high-end 78K0/KF2 with 60 KB of flash memory is priced at $5 per unit. Mass production is scheduled to begin in April 2005. For a detailed listing of the various MCUs in the 78K0/Kx2 series and their configurations, visit their website.