It wasn't too long ago when we were expecting next generation GPUs to require external power bricks just to ensure that one's PSU didn't melt while trying to survive an hour-long Crysis session. Now, it seems that the all-encompassing 'green' initiative is pushing the power saving mantra all the way down to the smallest components known to man. Case in point: Microchip Technology has just introduced its next gen low-power PC microcontroller (MCU) families with nanoWatt XLP eXtreme Low Power Technology for sleep currents as low as 20 nA. These three new 8- and 16-bit MCU families join three other recent 8-bit families that are all part of Microchip’s nanoWatt XLP portfolio, providing designers with a rich and compatible low-power migration path that includes on-chip peripherals for USB and mTouch sensing solutions. Best of all, the low power nature makes 'em ideal for any battery-powered or power-constrained application.
Tony Massimini, chief of technology at Semico Research Corporation, gloated about the advancements pretty heavily: "Microchip’s new nanoWatt XLP families of PIC microcontrollers have surpassed the competition by a substantial margin to offer a new industry benchmark for the lowest sleep current consumption. When you factor in the integration of EEPROM, oscillators, USB and capacitive touch sensing peripherals, the potential reduction in system-level power consumption is quite substantial."
The three most prominent nanoWatt XLP technology advantages are as follows:
down to 20 nA, Real-Time Clock currents down to 500 nA, and Watchdog
Timer currents down to 400 nA. The vast majority of low-power
applications require one or more of these features. nanoWatt XLP
Technology combines all three in a comprehensive portfolio of devices.
Whether it is extended battery life, sealed batteries, or the
integration of energy harvesting, Microchip’s 8- and 16-bit PIC MCUs
with nanoWatt XLP Technology provide more freedom for designers that
need their products to operate longer using less power, or requiring
fewer battery changes.