Anyone used XMOS processors?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Barnaby Walters, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Barnaby Walters

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 2, 2011
    103
    4
    Hi there,

    I've just found out about XMOS processors – they look like really nice little devices. And, they fulfil my previous wish of a proper MCU that has a Mac development system that I don't have to build a UI for (See: Instructables: PICs using a Mac.

    I like the look of the event driven, multitasking based processor — along with it's DSP abilities they look like they'd be great for my robotics and musical instrument effects.

    Plus, they're based in the UK!

    Has anyone here had a go with one?

    Thanks,
    Barnaby
     
  2. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    5,435
    1,305
    Yeah I checked them out, they look very powerful.

    Ultimately what put me off (for now) is that they have the same problem as the parallax propeller, they are a multi-chip solution.

    Both the XMOS and the propeller require; 1 the micro, 2 external eeprom memory, and there can be other issues with the programmer that might need another IC or special voltage regulation.

    Multi-chip computing is REALLY last century. If I buy a nice little microcontroller why should I have to buy an EEPROM too, and be forced to wire them together? And then why should there be a time penalty to load the program from EEPROM every time it boots up?

    Just put all the darn ROM inside the microcontroller already! I don't care if the chip costs a dollar more... ;(

    Sorry for ranting but it's annoying to have such nice micros that are unneccessarily difficult to use.
     
  3. Barnaby Walters

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 2, 2011
    103
    4
    Really? That does seem like a downer. I must admit I was surprised to see that they had OTP areas of memory… I suppose that you having to supply external EEPROM could help as it means you have more customisability and XMOS don't have to fall into the trap of producing a gabazillion devices (I.E. Microchip)…

    Well, they're one to watch, for me. I'll stick to 8 bit for the moment — mainly due to the fact I've got all the equipment and software set up for it.

    Thanks,
    Barnaby
     
  4. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    1,305
    Yeah don't get me wrong I really like a lot of things about the XMOS.

    But the OTP memory in the XMOS is just for a bootloader, so it has the bootloader permanently resident. Then on bootup it has to load all the executable code from ROM, and possibly external RAM too.

    You are right about the range of devices, having the memory external eases design costs and means 1 chip is all they need to make.

    I guess I'm spoilt from years of using PICs, all you do is connect 5v to the PIC and maybe a xtal, and it works. You can even program it with no external hardware.

    To me the ideal "Power chip" is to keep that EXACT philosophy and just make it really fast and/or multi processors in the one chip.

    Whoever is smart enough to do it right and make a fast multiprocessor single chip micro will make a gabazillion dollars I think... ;)
     
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