32-bit microcontrollers are powerful devices with microprocessor-like features. Some of the advanced features include instruction pipelining, branch prediction, Nested Vectored Interrupts (NVI), Floating Point Units (FPU), memory protection, and onboard debuggers.
Instruction pipelining means that the processor core pre-fetches subsequent instructions ahead of time, and branch prediction pre-fetches the next instructions of both outcomes of an if-else condition, thus speeding up code execution. You can even visit this website to get 32-Bit Microcontrollers.
NVI provides for interrupt priorities, where one interrupt can preempt a lower priority one.
FPU’s can do floating-point calculations much faster than SW-implemented methods.
Memory protection ensures that application code cannot inadvertently over-write critical sections dedicated to the operating system, for example.
Finally, on-board debugging allows peeking into registers and other areas of the system to facilitate application code debugging. All of these together allow these microcontrollers to run large, fast, and robust applications.
In addition, their raw processing power means they can easily support Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) that, in turn, provide multitasking capabilities.
Even though there are many 32-bit microcontrollers on the market, the focus in this note will be on the ARM Cortex M-based devices, with a special mention of the ESP32 from Espressif.
ARM Holdings actually only designs processor core IPs, which they then license to various semiconductor vendors that incorporate them, along with some peripherals, into their own silicon chips. Numerous chip makers offer microcontrollers based on the Cortex-M architecture.