I am looking for an ARM, preferably with an MMU, that is not in a BGA package so hobbyists reflow it at home.


4 Answers 4


Cavium Networks ECONA family has several ARM922-based processors with MMUs that run at 200-250 MHz. They have a PQFP 128-pin package. I think they're the most powerful non-BGA ARMs you can get (so far as I know).

PQFP packages are still pretty hairy to solder, so you might also look at the NXP 17xx series of Cortex M3 chips, which run at 100 MHz. Unfortunately, the M3 core does not have an MMU. I don't know all the packages used, but at least the LPC1758 comes in a LQFP 80-pin package with 0.5 mm pitch. You could also check the LPC2xxx series, but I'm not familiar with them.

If that's still too tricky, NXP has announced an ARM Cortex M0 chip, the LPC1114, that will be available in a 44-pin PLCC package in Q4 of 2010 (that is, you can't buy it for a few months yet). It only runs at 50 MHz and it has no MMU, but PLCCs can use through-hole sockets that can be soldered by hand pretty easily.

update (2011-07-28, by stevenvh)
We're now 2011Q3, and there's no sign of a PLCC LPC1114; it's only available as LQFP48 and leadless HVQFN33. Frankly, it would have surprised me to see it in PLCC; it's an archaic and big package (height: 5mm!), which these days won't get many customers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin Boyd: Thank you, sir! I've recently built a small Linux board using an ARM processor, so I was trying to answer the same question. If anyone else knows of candidates that rival the Cavium Networks chips, I'd love to know about them. (I went with an Atmel BGA chip in the end, the AT91SAM9G20.) \$\endgroup\$
    – pingswept
    Sep 5, 2010 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Something to beware of - I think that the NXP M0s don't support JTAG, so you may need to invest in an SWD tool \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2010 at 9:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any idea of a chip having an Arm9 core with 12bit adc and 12bit stereo dac? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin Boyd
    Jan 24, 2011 at 9:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin Boyd: I don't know of any ARM9's with on-chip DACs. They might exist, but I've not seen one. The Freescale i.MX233 might be your best bet-- 12-bit ADC plus dual serial audio interfaces on chip. \$\endgroup\$
    – pingswept
    Jan 24, 2011 at 15:23

Another to consider is the Cirrus Logic EP9302

  • 208 LQFP
  • ARM9
  • USB Host
  • Ethernet MAC

I did some research recently when I was choosing the fastest ARM MCU that I could find and solder myself.

My vote is definitely i.MX233:


ARM926EJ-S™, 454 MHz maximum speed 128 LQFP - small but manageable

This might be useful place for research: http://www.embeddeddeveloper.com/

This is a search for MCUs faster than 300MHz and supporting DDR memory:


I can only see i.MX233 being in non bga packaging


Allwinner A13 offers Cortex A8 in TQFP ( Similar to LQFP )



Datasheets : from Olimex github



  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you give us a bit more details as to why this processor specifically is useful? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Sep 27, 2012 at 21:52

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