Dynamic Memory Allocation

Previously, most FreeRTOS dynamic allocation would eventually call to malloc(). Thus, if an application was configured to allow malloc() to allocate from external RAM (i.e., CONFIG_SPIRAM_USE was set CONFIG_SPIRAM_USE_MALLOC), then there was a possibility that FreeRTOS could allocate dynamic memory from external RAM, with the exact placement being decided by the heap allocator.


Dynamic memory allocation for tasks (which are likely to consume the most memory) were an exception to the scenario above. FreeRTOS would use a separate memory allocation function to guarantee that dynamic memory allocate for a task was always placed in internal RAM.

Allowing FreeRTOS objects (such as queues and semaphores) to be placed in external RAM becomes an issue if those objects are accessed while the cache is disabled (such as during SPI Flash write operations) and would lead to a cache access errors (see Fatal Errors for more details).

Therefore, FreeRTOS has been updated to always use internal memory (i.e., DRAM) for dynamic memory allocation. Calling FreeRTOS creation functions (e.g., xTaskCreate(), xQueueCreate()) will guarantee that the memory allocated for those tasks/objects is from internal memory (see FreeRTOS Heap for more details).


For users that previously relied on CONFIG_SPIRAM_USE to place FreeRTOS objects into external memory, this change will lead to increased usage of internal memory due the FreeRTOS objects now being allocated there.

Users that want to place a FreeRTOS task/object into external memory will now need to do so explicitly. Users can use one of the following methods:

Power Management

  • esp_pm_config_esp32xx_t is deprecated, use esp_pm_config_t instead.

  • esp32xx/pm.h is deprecated, use esp_pm.h instead.