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TI CC2650 & CC2640 Vs Nordic nRF52832

July 18th, 2015

If you plan to work on a system that need a processor and Bluetooth Low Energy, you have two great choice - one from Texas Instruments TI and other from Nordic. The TI's CC2650 is a superset of CC2640 allowing the bluetooth to work in dual mode ( low energy as well as legacy) while the CC2640 works only in Low energy mode. The Nordic's nRF52832 is more recently launched and has less variants than those offered by TI. Both these processors integrate the BLE 4.0 and an efficient, fast Cortex M processors. We will compare and look into both these processors to help you make a choice between them.

Table : TI CC26xx Versus Nordic nRF52832

Features TI CC26xx Nordic nRF52832
Processor Cortex M3 @ 48 MHz Cortex M4 @ 64 MHz
Flash and RAM 128 KB & 20 KB 512 KB & 128 KB
Peripherals 2 SPI, UAR, I2C, Sensor Controller Engine SPI, I2C, UART, I2S, DMA
Receiver Sensitivity -97 dBm -96 dBm
Transmitter Power
+5 dBm +4 dBm
Current RX/TX (0dBm) 5.9 mA / 6.1 mA  5.5 mA / 5.5 mA 

1. Processor

The TI comes with Cortex M3 processor while the Nordic has Cortex M4F - and assuming the latest is best, makes Nordic slightly better than the TI's CC2650 and CC2640. The clock frequency for Nordic is also higher at 64 MHz vs 48 MHz for TI. But that is not the only reason why Nordic is better - it integrates 512 KB Flash and 64 KB of RAM versus 128 KB Flash and 20 KB RAM for Nordic.

The Cortex M4 from Nordic will be more useful in case your application requires DSP or Floating point unit supported in Cortex M4, that is not supported by Cortex M3.

2. Power Consumption

Both the chips have better power consumption compared to the earlier 8051 and Cortex M0 based solutions. They have comparable Rx and Tx power consumption and going by pure date, Nordic seems to be slightly better

3. Peripherals and IO

TI device comes in three  packages two with 32 Pins and one in 48 Pin. The smallest one has 10 GPIO and the next two have 15 GPIO and 25 GPIO respectively. The GPIOs are configurable and can be programmed ad SPI, I2C or UART. It can support 2 SPI Bus. The TI CC26xx has Sensor Controller Engine that allows you to use and ADC Pin as GPIO. The Nordic supports SPI, I2C, UART, I2S.

4. Software Support
Texas Instrument's Code Composer Studio and the IAR tools have support for the CC26xx. The Nordic's tools are more intuitive and simpler to use. It will eventually depend upon which tool you are already familiar with and if you wish to make a transition to the new set of tools.

TI's device seems to have some support in terms of existing software coded.

5. Hardware Reference Design

TI has a base board for Hardware Reference Design and a module for $99 - not as inexpensive as we would have liked it to be, but still something to start with. The Nordic has a $76 Evaluation Board on mouser .

6. Pricing

The price of the cheapest version of TI's CC2640 - the CC2640F128RHBR is prices at $2.70 in volume of 1K as per its website here . Nordic does not has any price information, but we believe that it is certainly going to be more expensive that the cheapest variation of CC2640 offered by TI.

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