[LINK] Fwd: Today on Catch - Asus EEE PC 701 Netbook only $259.90

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Fri Jun 5 19:51:53 EST 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Jan Whitaker
> Sent: Friday, 5 June 2009 5:02 PM
> To: Link Institute
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Fwd: Today on Catch - Asus EEE PC 701 
> Netbook only $259.90
> At 12:39 PM 5/06/2009, Brendan Scott wrote:
> >Not from Asus.  The new wave of netbooks will be based on ARM
> >processors, and are touted to have a full day's battery life and 
> >cost half that of an eee - albeit with a 400MHz processor.  I am 
> >told that of the Windows family, only Windows CE is capable of 
> >running on the ARM architecture.  If this is all true, the cat will 
> >be truly among the pigeons by the end of the year.
> Ah, thanks for the heads up. I stopped in Dicky Smiths this arvo and 
> looked at what they were selling as netbooks -- Toshiba and Acer in 
> the $700+ range. I mentioned I was after an ebook reading option, so 
> he showed me the ipod touch, which is about half that price. I asked 
> if they were going to handle the Sony and he said it probably 
> wouldn't be decided until the next FY when the buyers once 
> again have budgets.
> So I decided to wait. The idea of a new version netbook, even running 
> WinCE is an interesting new developmnt.

Well the initial promise was available in 2005.
Nov. 15, 2005

Atmel is shipping what it calls the "first ultra low-power,
deterministic microcontroller." The AT91SAM9261 integrates an ARM9 core,
USB2, and an LCD interface, costs less than $10 in volume, and consumes
less than 400 microamps when clocked at 0.0005 MHz, Atmel claims. It
supports Linux, and targets wireless handheld applications, such as POS

Atmel says the AT91SAM9261 can deliver 200 MIPS (million instructions
per second) when clocked at its standard "industrial" rate of 180 MHz.
At this frequency, it draws 65 milliamps, with all peripherals turned

In standby mode, it draws just 2.5 microamps, the company claims.

The AT91SAM9261 is the newest product in Atmel's line of AT91 chips, all
of which support ARM's Thumb instructions. Thumb instructions are
16-bits long, in order to maximize code density and reduce power use in
applications that do not need 32-bit instructions.

In calling the SoC "deterministic," Atmel refers to the chip's ability
to execute code from on-chip memory with no latency, making it possible
to predict the exact cycle at which real-time instructions will execute.
This overcomes a short-coming of the "code-shadowing" used in most ARM
cores to improve performance, but which has limited ARM's utility in
real-time applications, according to Atmel.

The AT91SAM9261 includes 32KB of ROM, along with 160KB of SRAM, both of
which feature "single-cycle access" when the processor and bus are
running full-speed, Atmel says. Alternatively, the onboard SRAM can be
configured as a frame buffer, in order to minimize the effect of LCD
refreshes on overall system performance.

The AT91SAM9261 is based on an ARM926EJ-S core, which in addition to
Thumb instructions includes ARM's Jazelle Java accelerator. The core
also supports DSP instructions, allowing it to process signals or
cryptographic tasks in bursts, and then shut down to conserve power,
Atmel says. The core has 16KB each of instruction and data cache.

Real-time Linux specialist FSMLabs recently announced support for the
ARM926EJ-S core, which is also used in Linux-friendly SoCs from STMicro,
Agere, Samsung, Freescale, NetSilicon, Toshiba, Conexant, and others.

Atmel AT91SAM9261 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Pretty Picture Layout of processor unit

Built-in controllers and interfaces include:

    * External memory bus -- supports SDRAM, static RAM, NAND Flash, and
    * LCD controller
          o B/W or 16-bit color on STN displays
          o 24 bit color on TFTs, or up to 2048 x 2048 resolution
    * Other I/O interfaces
          o USB 2.0 host and device ports -- support Bluetooth, DECT, or
WiFi radios
          o 3 x synchronous serial controllers
          o 3 x USARTs (universal synchronous/asynchronous transceivers)
          o 2 x SPI (serial peripheral interface)
          o MMC and SD card interface
          o 3 x 32-bit PIO (parallel I/O) controllers
    * System controllers
          o Reset controller
          o Shutdown controller
          o Clock generator
          o Power management controller
          o Periodic interval timer
          o Watchdog timer
          o Eight-level priority interrupt controller
                + Up to 32 internal or external interrupt sources
                + Individually maskable
    * Bus matrix supporting five bus masters
          o Processor instruction and data buses
          o 19-channel peripheral DMA controller
          o USB and LCD controllers
    * Debugging interfaces
          o 2-wire debugging controller
          o JTAG-ICE
          o Dedicated UART debug channel


The AT91SAM9261 is shipping now in a 217-ball LFBGA RoHS-compliant
package, priced below $10 in volume. An AT91SAM9261-EK evaluation kit
supporting third-party compilers, debuggers, and other tools is also

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