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Re: [avr-gcc-list] Another coding question

From: Geoffrey Wossum
Subject: Re: [avr-gcc-list] Another coding question
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 17:03:29 -0500
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On Thursday 05 August 2004 4:23 pm, Laszlo wrote:

> I'm also a PC coder who's still somewhat new to AVR. I'm in the same
> boat you are. I really hate to say this, but MicroSoft may have the
> right idea when they say "throw hardware at it." Many of the AVR devices
> are set up to make it easy to add external SRAM. 64K RAM is a whole lot
> more room to manipulate data in than, say, 512 bytes. I haven't done his
> yet, so I'll just leave you with that heads-up. And if you're already
> adding external RAM and wishing you had megabytes worth of space, that's
> certainly a bit more complicated, but I'll bet you a donut it can be
> done. :)

Back in my younger days, we had Commodore 64's, with 64 kb of banked RAM, and 
we liked it!  Now I spend most of my days writing for an ATmega128 with 4 kB 
of RAM,  or an ATmega32 with 2 kB or RAM.  Who says you always go forward?

Seriously though, you can do a lot with 4kb of RAM.  For instance, check this 
128 x 64 pixel LCD display and 802.15.4 wireless stack running as a Full 
Function Device (stack courtesy of Chipcon, http://www.chipcon.com), all on 
an unexpanded ATmega128.  It's actually not a tight fit, either. 

Now, for say, a TCP/IP stack, I would want extra RAM.  I know, I started 
writing one on an unexpanded ATmega128, and then requested that the hardware 
be modified to have a 32kB SRAM.

I agree with you that sometimes you need more memory or horsepower.  I also 
work with embedded x86 and ARM processors.  But you can get a lot of stuff to 
work using just an ATmega, at lower cost, less board area, and lower power 
consumption.  People have done pretty amazing things using Ethernut 
(http://www.ethernut.de).  How about Contiki 
(http://www.sics.se/~adam/contiki/)?  I thought Adam Dunkels was a wizard 
when I first saw uIP, but WOW!  Admittedly, this stuff is with 32kB or 64kB 
additional SRAM, but it's still great stuff.

Geoffrey Wossum
Software Engineer
Long Range Systems - http://www.pager.net

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