Winbond, Renesas accelerate building of embedded AI

Winbond, Renesas accelerate building of embedded AI

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Winbond Electronics Corporation has announced that its HyperRAM™ and SpiStack® (NOR+NAND) can be operated with Renesas’ RZ/A2M Arm®-based microprocessors (MPUs) to support compute-intensive emebdded AI and imaging workloads. Customers of the RZ/A2M can benefit from Winbond’s long-term supply for various types of external memory, including DRAM, NOR Flash, and NAND Flash which are currently the mainstream of embedded systems.

The RZ/A2M is suitable for Human Machine Interface (HMI) applications, especially HMI applications with cameras. It supports the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI), a camera interface that is widely used in mobile devices, and is equipped with a dynamically reconfigurable processor (DRP) for high-speed image processing. The RZ/A2M also features two Ethernet channels and it can enhance security functions with a cryptographic hardware accelerator. Thus, the RZ/A2M provides safe and secure high-speed network connection which can be used for image recognition in broad system applications, from consumer electronics to industrial equipment.

Winbond HyperRAM is ideal for embedded AI and image processing for classification, in which the electronics circuit needs to be made as small as possible, while providing sufficient storage and data bandwidth to support compute-intensive workloads such as image recognition, and SpiStack, on the other hand, gives designers the flexibility to store code in the NOR die and data in the NAND die with smallest form-factor.  

The image shows an example of a system configuration for embedded-AI, combining Winbond HyperRAM and SpiStack with Renesas RZ/A2M, where:

  • Winbond HyperRAM can be used as a working memory, which is more suitable for embedded AI and image processing on AIoT device.
  • Winbond SpiStack (NOR+NAND) store the boot code and application code for the RZ/A2M on the NOR side. Multiple large-sized data such as learning data for embedded AI and camera images can be stored on the NAND side.
  • Renesas RZ/A2M executes high-speed processing of embedded AI imaging application using MIPI camera and DRP.

“As embedded AI systems become more sophisticated and complex, the use of RZ/A2M with external memory can support the increasing data size of application code or trained models,” says Shigeki Kato, Vice President of the Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division at Renesas. “With the confirmation that RZ/A2M can operate with Winbond HyperRAM and SpiStack, customers will be able to obtain external RAM and Flash from Winbond all at once, and use our product without any concerns.”

HyperRAM can operate at a maximum frequency of 200 MHz and provide a maximum data-transfer rate of 400 MB/s with either 3.3-V or 1.8-V operation voltage. It also offers ultra-low power consumption in operating and hybrid sleep modes. Take Winbond’s 64Mb HyperRAM as an example, in room temperature, the standby power consumption is 70 µW at 1.8 V, and most importantly, power consumption of HyperRAM has only 35 µW at 1.8 V in Hybrid Sleep Mode. In addition, HyperRAM has only 13 signal pins, which can greatly simplify the PCB layout design. When designers design the end products, it allows MPUs to have more pins out for other purposes or using MPUs with fewer pins for better cost-effectiveness.

Winbond SpiStack (NOR+NAND) is formed by stacking a NOR die and a NAND die into one package, such as a 64Mb Serial NOR with a 1Gb QspiNAND die, which gives designers the flexibility to store code in the NOR die and data in the NAND die. SpiStack with NOR+NAND has only 6 signal pins, regardless of the number of stacked dies. The active die is switched by a simple software die selection command (C2h) with a factory-assigned die ID number. The clock rate can up to 104 MHz, an equivalent of 416 MHz under Quad-SPI. Additionally, SpiStack (NOR+NAND) supports concurrent operation, one of the dies could program/erase while the other die could program/erase/read at the same and vice versa.

“By adopting Winbond’s HyperRAM and SpiStack (NOR+NAND), it is possible to reduce the mounting area of memory on the PCB, the number of wires, and the BOM cost,” said Naoki Mimura, General Manager of Marketing & FAE Division at Winbond Japan. “Both package sizes are only 8- x 6-mm, there are 13 signals for HyperRAM and 6 signals for SpiStack (NOR+NAND). Compared to conventional SDRAM and parallel NOR/NAND, both of the package size and the number of terminals have been reduced by around 80%. Together with Renesas RZ/A2M, users can enjoy total memory solution provided by Winbond.”

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