18 cent 32-bit TSSOP-20 CPU

Just hunting around for a tiny 32-bit MCU in a simple TSSOP package and I came across both ARM M0+ and modern ones ones based on the M-CORE, remember that? Well C-SKY copied the M-CORE ISA into their chips and I can pick up a fully loaded 32-bit MCU for 18 cents! Fully loaded means all the usual peripherals such as dual UARTS, I2C, 12-bit A/D etc and also comes with 32k Flash and 2k RAM. The ARM chips are much more expensive at 30 cents :)

This sure beats the cheap 8-bit micros which you can get for as low as 3 cents but don't have the punch these do. Maybe I might write a little Forth for the M-CORE just so I can drop the chip in anywhere and develop the code for it interactively but also be able to run scripts from a host MCU (wonder which one that would be....?).
I also have the less interesting ARM option too. But all this for another day once I have all my hardware in production.

Comments

  • Peter, where do you find such incredibly low prices for the 32 bitters ? ARM chip for 30 cents ? In TSSOP ? Does one need to buy a full container ship of these to get such a price ?
  • I do ARM development for many years now, but never have seen such a cheap offer. 😀
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,573
    edited 2020-09-25 06:58
    Here in a TSSOP20 ARM M0 part that claims sub 20c

    https://lcsc.com/product-detail/Other-Processors-and-Microcontrollers-MCUs_HK-HK32F030MF4P6_C707444.html


    and this one I think is 64k Flash M0 in TSSOP20, so it might swap in instead of a P1 EEPROM ? (adding ADC for free and PWM for free ?)
    https://lcsc.com/product-detail/Other-Processors-and-Microcontrollers-MCUs_Sine-Microelectronics-ASM31LX003_C726246.html

  • My Chinese is no good but they look like a close cousins of the stm32f030/g030 plus some "improvements". Might be worth playing a bit with these before implementing in the commercial product though. You can't beat the price for sure (economy might be dependent on where one needs them to be shipped) but an interesting find anyway. Thanks, @jmg .
  • > copied the M-CORE ISA

    Given that ARM M0 licensing costs $0 upfront with royalties only for production, I imagine they may not have had to copy anything, and getting shrinkwrapped ARM M0 IP is AFAIK hands-free, you can just download the stuff with a click-through license. See the DesignStart program.

    Of course it's cheaper to copy the core if you want to shave the last cent off the part cost, but then you have to pay upfront for your own development and verification costs. M-CORE is basically closest in complexity to the original ARMv2 and can be implemented in similar gate/transistor counts. That little CPU is probably ~20-25k gates sans memory, the core itself is 8k gates or so.

    So, if they are not ARM licensees then I'd consider buying their parts to be a liability since you take on responsibility for selling unlicensed parts, but if they are licensees then no such problem is present.
  • Hello!
    A comment:
    Group think of how we all felt when the ESP8266 devices started turning up at the places were we bought our supplies at 5 dollars and 6 dollars and even 14 dollars (US) ? For my part, I felt decidedly surprised. And I have a good assortment of them here.
  • Just hunting around for a tiny 32-bit MCU in a simple TSSOP package and I came across both ARM M0+ and modern ones ones based on the M-CORE, remember that? Well C-SKY copied the M-CORE ISA into their chips and I can pick up a fully loaded 32-bit MCU for 18 cents! Fully loaded means all the usual peripherals such as dual UARTS, I2C, 12-bit A/D etc and also comes with 32k Flash and 2k RAM. The ARM chips are much more expensive at 30 cents :)

    This sure beats the cheap 8-bit micros which you can get for as low as 3 cents but don't have the punch these do. Maybe I might write a little Forth for the M-CORE just so I can drop the chip in anywhere and develop the code for it interactively but also be able to run scripts from a host MCU (wonder which one that would be....?).
    I also have the less interesting ARM option too. But all this for another day once I have all my hardware in production.

    Peter, I would think that would be cool if you did write a forth for these. If anybody could, it's you!
  • The versions I chose weren't the cheapest because I was after more than the minimal Flash/RAM versions since I can host a decent Forth on it.

    The writing of the Forth is simple compared to setting up the tools and getting my head around the ISA and hardware! I start off very very simply with a blinky or something just to make sure I have everything setup correctly, then I progress to getting the UART to work and then adding low-level debug routines which are very useful when I am testing the code interpreter etc.

  • The versions I chose weren't the cheapest because I was after more than the minimal Flash/RAM versions since I can host a decent Forth on it.
    ...

    Really ?
    I'm inclined to think they are even more so if you look at them from a price to performance perspective.
    Looking forward to try them out at some point, when they become more accessible by means of forth running on them :).
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