OK, so that title is intentionally provocative. The DSP is not dead yet. But as I learn about Atmel’s ARM processors, I ask myself why I would ever use a DSP chip. The Atmel Cortex M4 has single-cycle multiply accumulate. It’s got floating-point math. Its pin-to-pin compatibility with Atmel SAM7S, SAM3N and SAM3S microcontrollers. The CPU has DSP extensions. And Atmel parts sip power compared to traditional DSPs. One of the coolest features in parts like the SAM4L is how you can set up the peripherals to operate and even write to memory without waking up the core CPU. So all these features plus the appeal of ARM compatibility is putting a lot of pressure on those older DSP chips. When you look at the power of the AVR and ARM chips Atmel makes, most all of them have the power of the old DSP chips, and they get the job done using less current.