The new ARM Cortex-M7 processor core is the most recent and highest performance of the different microcontroller cores in the ARM Cortex-M family. And as such, it outperforms for example the Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 on performance, while maintaining backwards compatibility.
Many semiconductor manufacturers have announced new Cortex-M7 devices, and one of the first out is STMicroelectronics, adding new Cortex-M7 devices to their STM32 family. The Cortex-M7 version of STM32 is called STM32F7, runs at 200MHz and initially coming with 512KB or 1MB of Flash memory and 320KB of RAM. And so, what can STM32 developers expect, when equipping their coming designs with the more powerful STM32F7?
Performance wise, the STM32F7 is a lot faster. The Cortex-M7 is ARM’s highest-performing Cortex-M processor, combining a six-stage superscalar pipeline with branch prediction and flexible system and memory interfaces including AXI, AHB, caches and tightly-coupled memories, delivering high integer, floating point and DSP performance.
The Cortex-M7 processor and hence STM32F7 takes advantage of the same easy-to-use, C friendly programmer’s model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors and tools. Software compatibility enables simple migration from Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors.
More technically, the Cortex-M7 and STM32F7 use the ARMv7-M instruction set architecture (ISA), with an IEEE 754 compliant single and double precision floating point unit, as well as including these DSP extensions:
- Single cycle 16/32-bit MAC
- Single cycle dual 16-bit MAC
- 8/16-bit SIMD arithmetic
- Hardware Divide
STM32F7 will provide STM32 developers with a lot of performance headroom, and I am sure many of you will use it fully to build brilliant products based on STM32F7; in the IoT space or elsewhere.
But what about tool support for STM32F7?
Atollic TrueSTUDIO was one of the first tool vendors shipping a C/C++ compiler and debugger IDE for Cortex-M7 and STM32F7; offering STM32F7 developers a supremely powerful and highly integrated IDE. Atollic TrueSTUDIO is based on the new “industry standard” for embedded tools; i.e. using the ECLIPSE IDE and the GNU gcc compiler and the GNU gdb debugger.
Atollic TrueSTUDIO however adds a lot of improvements and commercial extensions, including MISRA-C coding standards checking and code complexity analysis for improved software quality, and advanced debug capabilities including tracing, STM32 hard fault crash analysis, kernel aware RTOS debugging, etc.
Atollic TrueSTUDIO support STM32 debugging using SEGGER J-Link, SEGGER J-Trace as well as ST-LINK from STMicroelectronics.
If you want to learn more on STM32 and STM32F7 development and debugging, read this white paper: