How many times have you started an embedded project, then looked at all the kits available and felt you had to compromise due to software tools, community support or hardware characteristics? That ends today with the Microchip chipKIT™ Development Platforms based on a MIPS32 M4K MCU.

The little techie video below courtesy of The Ben Heck Show shows the MIPS-based PIC32 chipKIT is faster than competing solutions board and has more I/O ports. Ben also goes over the basic functionality and architecture of the PIC32 microcontroller that is at the core of the chipKIT and how to use it in your projects. He also explains why the Microchip PIC32 is a better choice for embedded programming, comparing it to other solutions that have been featured on his show previously.

Another important point to be made is that the MIPS32 M4K-based chipKIT uses less power than competing solutions operating at the same rate. Microchip’s hobbyist-friendly packaging is also the only Arduino-based solution providing 32-bits in SPDIP.

What is chipKIT and how do I get one?

chipKIT is a PIC32-based platforms compatible with existing Arduino™ hardware and software. The chipKIT platform is probably one of the best ways to introduce new embedded developers to writing code for the MIPS32 architecture without actually requiring an in-depth knowledge of Imagination’s microcontroller architecture.

MIPS32 M4K PIC32 chipKIT Max32-obl-500

chipKIT™ Max32™

Microchip has invested a lot of time and effort in the hardware, tools and community support to make this solution easy to use, including ensuring its compatibility with a huge repository of existing code examples, tutorials and other resources available on the Arduino™ website ( to quickly and easily integrate intelligent electronics into your next project.

The chipKIT platform is pin-out compatible with many existing Arduino shields that operate at 3.3V and is a much more attractive proposition in terms of performance and cost. It is significantly cheaper than other ADKs (Application Development Kits) but offers four to five times the performance as well as additional advanced capabilities, including integrated USB (device/host, OTG) and Ethernet.

MIPS32 M4K PIC32 chipKIT Uno32-obl-500chipKIT™ Uno32™

Another key advantages of this MIPS-based kit is the development environment called Multi-Platform IDE (or MPIDE), which was based on the original Arduino™ IDE. It has been modified to support Microchip’s PIC32 architecture and supports much of the original Arduino™ line.

MIPS PIC32 MIPS32 M4K block diagram

The MIPS-based Microchip PIC32 block diagram

Turn your next ADK into a success with the MIPS32-based microAptiv from Imagination

As more and more embedded engineers and developers look to MIPS-based products for future projects, Imagination is committed to driving the adoption of 32-bit solutions in the microcontroller space.

Thanks to a scalable roadmap of high performance, low power solutions, our partners can easily integrate MIPS32 MCUs into their upcoming platforms.

Building on the success of the M4K and M14K IP cores, Imagination is now licensing the microAptiv core family. A high-performance, compact-footprint unified MCU/MPU and DSP embedded processor core, the microAptiv is part of the recently announced Aptiv™ generation of microprocessor cores. It comes in two flavors:

  • A MPU (Memory Protection Unit) implementation for basic microcontroller applications that do not require cache memories

MIPS microAptiv UC Core

  • A MMU (Memory Management Unit) implementation for embedded system designs with operating systems that use virtual memory concepts.

MIPS microAptiv UP Core

There are multiple advantages of using microAptiv, both from hardware and software considerations; the list below highlights just some of the benefits of integrating a microAptiv CPU:

  • Imagination is among the few 32-bit MCU providers that offer both MPU and MMU implementations, critical for supporting all operating systems that might use virtual memory and caches (Embedded Linux, Android etc.)
  • Better real-time performance and lower design costs (think memory) thanks to microMIPS™ code compression ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) and DSP-specific ASE™ (Application Specific Extension).
  • Higher peak performance than competing converged microcontroller/DSP solutions in their class, (1.57 DMIPS/MHz, 3.2 CoreMark/MHz in microMIPS mode).
  • A growing ecosystem of optimized third party tools and products as well as proprietary development tools (examples include Mentor® Embedded Sourcery™ CodeBench C/C++ GNU-based software toolchain , MIPS System Navigator™ iFlowtrace™ probe, Navigator ICS, Navigator Console, MIPSsim™ simulator and SEAD™ -3 development board or the PIC32 starter kit)

microAptiv is therefore a natural choice for silicon vendors looking to integrate a configurable, high performance and low power microcontroller IP core into their design. The MIPS architecture and software tools teams inside Imagination have the required expertise to help you deliver your next generation platform to market quickly and hassle-free.

Microchip’s PIC32 family is just one among the many examples of how we continue to work closely with our ecosystem and deliver optimized solutions that fit their needs and exceed expectations.

For more information on our Aptiv line of processors and future updates on our MIPS architecture and roadmap, follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR and @MIPSGuru) and keep coming back to our blog.