Cortex-M0 Is ARM's Smallest, Lowest Power CPU

While we would expect a barrage of new CPU announcements from someone like Intel or AMD, it's been ARM of late pushing out the new silicon. Just days after showcasing its first 32 nanometer chip, the company responsible for the Cortex line has announced the smallest, lowest power and most energy-efficient ARM processor available.

The Cortex-M0 is capable of consuming as little as 85 microwatts/MHz (0.085 milliwatts) in an area of under 12K gates when using the ARM 180ULL cell library, and if ARM is to be believed, the "exceptional low power, small gate count and code footprint of the processor enables MCU developers to achieve 32-bit performance at an 8-bit price point." Additionally, the ultra low gate count enables it to be deployed in analog and mixed signal devices as well as MCU applications, and promises "substantial savings" in system cost while retaining tool and binary compatibility with the Cortex-M3 processor.

If you couldn't tell, the M0 isn't designed to be the next big thing in netbooks; rather, it's aimed at devices we simply take for granted. Things like medical devices, e-metering, lighting, smart control, gaming accessories, compact power supply, power and motor control, precision analog and IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) and Z-Wave systems. The chip can also be implemented in the programmable mixed signal market as well as within applications such as intelligent sensors and actuators which have traditionally required separate analog and digital devices.

Of course, it's up to your imagination to determine where the aforesaid "8-bit price point" resides, as ARM is only saying that the Cortex-M0 is available for licensing today. We take it that something this small and power conscience won't be sold for cheap, though.
Tags:  CPU, processor, ARM, Cortex-M0