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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Microcontrollers and Programmable Logic
Cortex-M4 with floating-point support
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mhelin



Joined: Feb 07, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:00 am    Post subject: Cortex-M4 with floating-point support Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi,

Anyone yet seen boards with a Cortex-M4 ARM processor (any brand)? There are models which have hardware floating point support making it easy to port applications (like VST instruments) to microcontrollers. Here a demo of sine / noise generator by DSP Concepts run on NXP development board:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxbBJ24ahsY

Would be interestinf if they released a LPCXPresso board with this new chip on it.

NXP press release:
http://www.nxp.com/news/content/file_1776.html
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skrasms



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Cortex-M4 with floating-point support Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mhelin wrote:
Hi,

Anyone yet seen boards with a Cortex-M4 ARM processor (any brand)? There are models which have hardware floating point support making it easy to port applications (like VST instruments) to microcontrollers. Here a demo of sine / noise generator by DSP Concepts run on NXP development board:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxbBJ24ahsY

Would be interestinf if they released a LPCXPresso board with this new chip on it.

NXP press release:
http://www.nxp.com/news/content/file_1776.html


You can get M4 dev boards from Freescale (Kinetis is their M4 family) now, but they aren't supporting floating point yet.

Actually, I haven't seen anyone supporting M4 floating point yet. A lot of big names are promising M4 parts with floating point support to be available for production in mid-2011. Until then all the M4 parts I've seen on product road maps exclude the floating point part.

I'm excited for whenever they start rolling out.

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unshaven



Joined: Feb 18, 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I haven't seen another thread about this, so I guess I make an update here:

Meanwhile, there are cheap boards from STMicroelectronics available, called STM32F4DISCOVERY, @ farnell for ~ 16 EUR (I guess around 20 $US ?).
This does have floating point support and DSP instructions, and can run at 168 MHz. The mentioned board has a stereo audio DAC with small speaker driver and some further gadgets on it.

Data sheet:
http://www.st.com/internet/com/TECHNICAL_RESOURCES/TECHNICAL_LITERATURE/DATA_BRIEF/DM00037955.pdf
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Interesting!

Looks like there is some ARM offensive going on, seeing lots of cheap development boards currently.

Did not really see cheap development tools for them yet though, some stuff for cortex A (Android stuff) seems to be around, but could not find anything for Cortex M except limited evaluation versions ...

I'm currently evaluating Keil (limited to 32 k code size) and Code Red (limited to 128 k I think). (but both for M3 processors, for my work really, and not M4).

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unshaven



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
Interesting!

Looks like there is some ARM offensive going on, seeing lots of cheap development boards currently.

Did not really see cheap development tools for them yet though, some stuff for cortex A (Android stuff) seems to be around, but could not find anything for Cortex M except limited evaluation versions ...

I'm currently evaluating Keil (limited to 32 k code size) and Code Red (limited to 128 k I think). (but both for M3 processors, for my work really, and not M4).



IMHO, Keil is a horribly dated feeling piece of s...oftware - considering the hefty price, well, a no brainer for me... And while I certainly do not want to step on anyones toes here and hope for a sense of humor: I think it shows that this "IDE" was made by people who come from an "embedded" background Wink Not IDE design gurus.

For cortex-M3, there are certainly nicer alternatives, even free ones (as in beer and/or in speech).
One really quickstart IDE that got me into embedded dev, since other free alternatives can be a nightmare to setup to run at all, was:

Coocox CoIDE.
A chinese website with user forum hosts this - it's not open source IIRC, but the IDE, based on Eclipse but extremely stripped down to make it easier for getting into stuff, has been free of charge so far. It supports C only (no C++), but comes with libraries for several manufacturers of cortex M3 (I inly tried STM32), and you can click together stuff in a dialog to include the right libraries for this and that, with comments and some examples.... pretty nice, although not perfect. It was really a boost for me.
(the IDE uses & comes with GCC)
Supports e.g. ST-Link debugger and Olimex OCD.

An open source alternative would be OpenOCD + GCC + Eclipse, which I use at work, but this is what I meant when referring to setup nightmare.
It's pretty powerfull, though.
With Eclipse, you can even have thread based debugging when using a multi tasking system such as FreeRTOS.

Then, the only affordable commercial IDE license for hobby development, that, AFAIK, also supports Cortex M4, is:
Rowley Associates CrossWorks for ARM.
This supports also other ARM platforms, such as Cortex A?, ARM9, etc.
What I really like about this IDE is that it natively supportes a wide range of HW debugggers/programmers, even free ones and some obscure / DIY(??), so you don't have much if any setup trouble there - just select and "connect", for most.
What I don't like is that, as of yet, Crossworks has no auto-completion features ("intellisense"), i.e. you have to type a lot Wink Or use an external editor that does do that... The editor, if used with custom settings, which are offered a lot of to tinker with, seems to have some real nasty quirks that makes it unusable for me, not just because the lack of "intellisense"...
Otherwise, the IDE seems quite complete, with regards to embedded debugging.

The price was roughly 150 bucks or so for a hobbyist license, so that's quite something different than the thousands you have to pay elsewhere.
There's no code size or other restrictions, you just aren't allowed to go commercial with your creations.

And then there's a free of charge version of Atollic TrueSTUDIO, I haven't really checked it out in depth. It supports C only, looked allright from a glimpse. Supports the ST-Link debugger on the STM Discovery boards.

Last edited by unshaven on Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

unshaven wrote:
IMHO, Keil is a horribly dated feeling piece of s...oftware - considering the hefty price, well, a no brainer for me...


Dunno, it looks snappy, it supports editing files from an external editor, it has a brilliant debugger with good timing info, a logical window layout, the emulator looks nice too. Shocked

I don't like Eclipse a bit and the GNU debugger is like a nightmare, and Olimex Confused

So there is enough room for religious debate here Laughing

Will look into your suggestions anyway!

And welcome to the forum unshaven.

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unshaven



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
unshaven wrote:
IMHO, Keil is a horribly dated feeling piece of s...oftware - considering the hefty price, well, a no brainer for me...


Dunno, it looks snappy, it supports editing files from an external editor, it has a brilliant debugger with good timing info, a logical window layout, the emulator looks nice too. Shocked


Let's say, when I use it I feel remebered of the days when using Borland C++ 2.1 or so (not C++ builder, I mean the DOS16 IDE) - or worse.
Yeah it is quite complete in what information it offers to look at, about what's going on within your target.
But how it's all glued together... "logic" I wouldn't apply to how the tabs work, and some weird editing behavior, I have no concrete examples right now, repressed memory I guess Very Happy
Ah - the forced stupid ordering of source / header files in project view annoys me to no end - and it does only support a folder depth of 2 - outch!

Quote:
I don't like Eclipse a bit

Well, it seems overfraught to some, hehe, the context menus certainly are, but has many useful features IMO. One of the most complete syntax coloring, not too bad auto-completion, refactoring,
and then there are all those 3rd party plugins!
It can be slow, especially when not setup optimally, and from my experience, the Linux version (tried on fedora) is worse there than the windows version, speaking of Helios. It sometimes shows that it's done in Java.
But I'd choose it over Keil any day, well I guess I'd choose "shoot myself" over Keil, too Very Happy

Quote:

and the GNU debugger is like a nightmare


Do you mean the GNU graphical debugger, or GDB itself?
You can properly debug with Eclipse, with showing variables and arrays' content and all, and threads. Needs some setup, though.

Quote:

, and Olimex Confused


I was referring to the Olimex ARM USB OCD (tiny) (-H ) hardware debuggers, that are supported e.g. via OpenOCD.
Was that emoticon objection or "what's that?" ?

Quote:

So there is enough room for religious debate here Laughing


Well, I'm not sure I have much of a chance here, where I suppose mostly developers with strong embedded bias are present - who seem to be used to / content with more old-fashioned IDEs, often with the attitude of seeing this as "no nonsense", while I would call it "devoid of essential features" *g*

Quote:

Will look into your suggestions anyway!


Well, for M3 hobby dev, Coocox is probably the most slim IDE I'v seen so far. Then again, the (seeming?) lack of control over some features might bug some.

Quote:
And welcome to the forum unshaven.


Thanks Smile
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Don't worry, its not all old farts here like me who actually liked the snappy turbo pascal behavior and wordstar editor commands and such Wink

Hey, for my first embedded thingies I had to write my own debugger with tools like that! And I still use Forth for embedded systems too!

I've tried ARM before, arm 7 that was, with olimex, eclipse, openocd, etc. As you say .. it was a not really easy to set it up, and it was crashy too, but thats a couple of years ago, suppose it'll be better now. Didn't really get to use it then, it was all a bit of overkill for the sort of projects I did then.

Referring to GDB I meant the graphical front end for it in Eclipse.

I really like the the ARM processors though now that more and more peripherals get integrated too.

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I looked into embedded stuff last year and was pretty shocked by the dev tools in general I must admit, seems like time has forgotten them.

Even more shocking when you consider the cost of some of the dev tools.

But then again I use the intel tools every day and am constantly amazed how shite they are as well Sad
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My NXP evaluation came in today, an M3 thingie (lpc1769) made by embedded artists, using eclipse based code red stuff ... after some email exchange I got it running too.

Basically it is a €20 board, but got a main board for it too with some sensors, leds, a small display, etc. adding up to like €125.

Not too impressed by the tools sofar.

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CooCox on the machine too now, too soon to tell .. need to figger out a debug interface now, seems to have some nice point and click stuff on first sight indeed.
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