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AVR's are currently 8 or 32 bit RISC microcontroller architectures produced by ATmel.

AVR 8-bit RISC.

Atmel's AVR® microcontrollers have a RISC core running single cycle instructions and a well-defined I/O structure that limits the need for external components. Internal oscillators, timers, UART, SPI, pull-up resistors, pulse width modulation, ADC, analog comparator and watch-dog timers are some of the features you will find in AVR devices. AVR instructions are tuned to decrease the size of the program whether the code is written in C or Assembly. With on-chip in-system programmable Flash and EEPROM, the AVR is a perfect choice in order to optimize cost and get product to the market quickly


AVR32 32-bit MCU/DSP Introduction

Atmel has created the first processor architected specifically for 21st century applications. The AVR32 32-bit RISC processor core is designed to do more processing per clock cycle so the same throughput can be achieved at a lower clock frequency.

In fact, the AVR32 CPU executes about three times as much processing per clock cycle as its nearest competitor. This means the compute intensive algorithms required for today's applications can be executed at a lower clock rate, with substantially less power consumption. During the development of the AVR32 AP, Atmel has filed over 18 patents on the innovative techniques used to optimize the architecture. The AVR32 AP core minimizes penalties from load/store and branch operations and maximizes pipeline throughput, allowing complex algorithms to be executed with a much lower clock frequency and power consumption than comparable processors.

For example, the AVR32 can execute quarter-VGA MPEG4 decoding at 30 frames per second (fps) running at just 100 MHz while comparable architectures require 260 MHz and more to decode the same movie stream.

In addition to the technical advantages of the AVR32, one of the major benefits of this new core is to rely on a license-free model. AVR32 is an Atmel Intellectual Property (IP) that will be used to develop general purpose microcontrollers as well as specific or custom ICs.