14 October 2005
ARM Introduces Industry's Fastest Processor For Low-Power Mobile And Consumer Applications
ARM has announced its new Cortex™-A8 processor which will revolutionize consumer and low-power mobile devices, enabling the delivery of higher levels of entertainment and innovation to end users. Launched at the second annual ARM® Developers' Conference, in Santa Clara, California, the ARM Cortex-A8 processor delivers up to 2,000 DMIPS making it ideal for demanding consumer products running multi-channel video, audio, and gaming applications. For next-generation mobile devices, the ARM Cortex-A8 processor delivers industry-leading performance and power efficiency while using less than 300 mW in 65nm technology. For the first time, low-cost, high-volume products will have access to desktop levels of performance using the Cortex-A8 processor.
The exceptional speed and power efficiency of the Cortex-A8 processor is enabled by new ARM Artisan® libraries supporting Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology and implementing advanced leakage control. The processor is supported by a wide range of ARM technologies for rapid system design including RealView® DEVELOPER software development tools; RealView ARCHITECT ESL tools and models; CoreSight™ debug and trace technology; and software library support through the OpenMAX multimedia processing standard.
ARM has already secured five licensees for the Cortex-A8 processor, including Freescale, Matsushita, Samsung and Texas Instruments, and future support from major EDA and Operating System vendors.
"With the Cortex-A8 processor, ARM has demonstrated its commitment to enabling the next generation of advanced cell phones, media players and new portable devices requiring robust digital signal processing and control capabilities," said Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of market watcher Forward Concepts. "The performance specifications are truly stunning and I expect that the Cortex-A8 processor will ensure ARM's continued leadership in the portable electronics market."
CORTEX-A8 PROCESSOR BENEFITS
The Cortex-A8 processor is the first applications processor based on the next-generation ARMv7 architecture, and features Thumb®-2 technology for greater performance, energy efficiency, and code density. It includes the first implementation of the powerful NEON™ signal processing extensions to accelerate media codecs such as H.264 and MP3. The Cortex-A8 solution also includes Jazelle®-RCT Java acceleration technology to optimize Just In Time (JIT) and Dynamic Adaptive Compilation (DAC), and reduces memory footprint by up to three times. Additionally, the new processor features TrustZone® technology for secure transactions and Digital Rights Management (DRM), and IEM capability for low power.
"The rapid convergence of digital entertainment and mobile communications technology requires new levels of system performance and security within a tight cost and power footprint," said Mike Inglis, EVP, Marketing ARM. "The new ARM Cortex-A8 processor and supporting technologies brings unprecedented levels of performance and energy efficiency to the home and mobile markets and will result in innovative new devices with media-rich applications coming to the consumer."
The Cortex-A8 processor features an advanced superscalar pipeline which can execute multiple instructions at the same time and deliver more than 2.0 DMIPS per MHz. The processor integrates a size configurable level 2 cache which works in conjunction with fast 16K or 32K level 1 caches to minimize access time and maximize throughput. The Cortex-A8 processor uses advanced branch prediction techniques and has dedicated NEON integer and floating-point pipelines for media and signal processing. The Cortex-A8 processor will run at more than 600 MHz in low-power 65nm processes with the core using less than 4 mm2 of silicon (excluding NEON, Trace technology and L2 cache). High-performance consumer designs will run the Cortex-A8 processor at up to 1 GHz in high-performance 90nm and 65nm processes.
COMPLETE SYSTEM SOLUTION
ARM has developed a full range of supporting technology around the new processor to reduce design time and accelerate time-to-market. This complete system solution includes development and debug tools, modeling technology and physical cell libraries:
The ARM RealView ARCHITECT series of ESL Tools, including MaxSim™ technology, enables rapid prototyping and architectural exploration of Cortex-A8 processor-based
systems as well as providing a target for application software development before the hardware is available. This enables designers to deliver full platform solutions tuned to specific market requirements with time-to-market improvements of up to 40 percent.
The new AMBA® Designer design automation tool, based around MaxSim technology, provides design flow automation for advanced AMBA interconnect sub-systems, further reducing implementation and time-to-market (See "ARM Significantly Reduces Time-to-Market for AMBA 3 AXI Interconnect-Based SoC Designs", Oct. 4, 2005).
The ARM RealView DEVELOPER series includes the RealView Development Suite which includes advanced code generation tools with Cortex-A8 processor-specific enhancements to deliver exceptional performance and unmatched code density. The tools also support the NEON media and signal processing extensions, enabling developers to achieve product and project cost reductions through the elimination of separate DSPs and their associated development tools. In addition, the Development Suite will support all the features included in the new processor.
The Cortex-A8 processor
supports ARM CoreSight technology
to speed complex debug and reduce time-to-market. The processor includes Embedded Trace Macrocell™ technology and implements the ARMv7 architecture-compliant debug interface to enable tools standardization and higher debug performance. The available CoreSight DK-A8 design kit extends the debug and trace capability to cover the entire system-on-chip including multiple ARM processors, DSPs, and intelligent peripherals. CoreSight trace technology is widely licensed and supported by ARM RealView development tools.
ARM's new Artisan Advantage-CE library for the Cortex-A8 processor enables both high-speed operation and low static and dynamic power consumption. With more than one thousand cells, many specifically designed for the new processor, the library is designed to meet the high-density routing requirements of high-performance processors. Leakage power reduction is achieved through power gating MT-CMOS cells and retention flip-flops to support sleep and standby modes.
The ARM Cortex-A8 processor is available for licensing now, along with the majority of the supporting technology. First availability for the Advantage-CE library in leading 65nm technologies will be 1Q06.
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's comprehensive product offering includes 16/32-bit RISC microprocessors, data engines, 3D processors, digital libraries, embedded memories, peripherals, software and development tools, as well as analog functions and high-speed connectivity products. Combined with the company's broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com/.