You are on page 1of 21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ARM architecture
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The ARM architecture describes a family of RISC-based computer processors designed and licensed by British company ARM Holdings. It was first developed in the 1980s[2] and globally as of 2013 is the most widely used 32bit instruction set architecture in terms of quantity produced.[3][4] In 2011 alone, producers of chips based on ARM architectures reported shipments of 7.9 billion ARMbased processors, representing 95% of smartphones, 90% of hard disk drives[citation needed ], 40% of digital televisions and set-top boxes, 15% of microcontrollers and 20% of mobile computers.[5] As an IP core business, ARM Holdings itself does not manufacture its own electronic chips, but licenses its designs to other semiconductor manufacturers. ARM-based processors and systems on a chip include the Qualcomm Snapdragon, nVidia Tegra, and Texas Instruments OMAP, as well as ARM's Cortex series and Apple System on Chips (used in its iPhones). The name was originally an acronym for Advanced RISC Machine, and in its early days Acorn RISC Machine.[6]
Designer Bits


The ARM logo ARM Holdings 32-bit & 64-bit implementations ARMv8[1] RISC Register-Register Fixed

Introduced 1985 Version Design Type Encoding

Using a RISC based approach to computer design, ARM Branching Condition code processors require significantly fewer transistors than Endianness Bi (Little as default) processors that would typically be found in a traditional Extensions NEON, Thumb, Jazelle, VFP, A64 computer. The benefits of this approach are lower costs, less heat, and less power usage, traits that are desirable for use in Registers light, portable, battery-powered devices such as smart 16/31[1] phones and tablet computers.[7] The reduced complexity and simpler design allows companies to build a low-energy system on a chip for an embedded system incorporating memory, interfaces, radios, etc. The earliest example was the Apple Newton tablet but this same approach is still used in the Apple A4 and A5 chips in the iPad. ARM periodically releases updates to its core currently ARMv7 and ARMv8 which chip manufacturers can then license and use for their own devices. Variants are available for each of these to include or exclude optional capabilities. Current versions use 32-bit instructions with 32-bit addressed 1 byte wide memory which is effectively reduced to just over 24 bit addressing due to 4 byte alignment, with some addressing reserved in bytewise allocation for Memory Mapped I/O, but accommodates 16-bit instructions for economy and can also handle Java bytecodes which use 32-bit addresses. More recently, ARM architecture has included 64-bit versions in 2012, Microsoft produced its new Surface tablet with ARM technology and AMD announced that it would start producing server chips based on the 64-bit ARM core in 2014.[8]



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 Features and applications 2 Licensees 3 History 3.1 Acorn RISC Machine: ARM2 3.2 Apple, DEC, Intel, Marvell: ARM6, StrongARM, XScale 3.3 Licensing 4 ARM cores 5 Example applications of ARM cores 6 Architecture 6.1 CPU modes 6.2 Instruction set 6.2.1 Arithmetic instructions 6.2.2 Registers 6.2.3 Conditional execution 6.2.4 Other features 6.2.5 Pipelines and other implementation issues 6.2.6 Coprocessors 6.3 Debugging 6.4 DSP enhancement instructions 6.5 Jazelle 6.6 Thumb 6.7 Thumb-2 6.8 Thumb Execution Environment (ThumbEE) 6.9 Floating-point (VFP) 6.10 Advanced SIMD (NEON) 6.11 Security Extensions (TrustZone) 6.12 No-execute page protection 6.13 ARMv8 and 64-bit 7 ARM licensees 7.1 Approximate licensing costs 8 Operating systems 8.1 Historical operating systems 8.2 Embedded operating systems 8.3 Mobile Device operating systems 8.4 Desktop operating systems 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Features and applications 2/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As of 2005, about 98% of the more than one billion mobile phones sold each year used at least one ARM processor.[9] As of 2009, ARM processors accounted for approximately 90% of all embedded 32-bit RISC processors[10] and were used extensively in consumer electronics, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, mobile phones, digital media and music players, hand-held game consoles, calculators[citation needed ] and computer peripherals such as hard drives[citation needed ] and routers.

The ARM architecture is licensable. Companies that are current or former ARM licensees include Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.,[11] Alcatel-Lucent, Apple Inc., AppliedMicro, Atmel, Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, CSR plc, Digital Equipment Corporation, Ember, Energy Micro, Freescale, Fujitsu, Fuzhou Rockchip, Huawei, Intel (through DEC), LG, Marvell Technology Group, Microprocessor-based system on a chip Microsemi, Microsoft, NEC, Nintendo, Nuvoton, Nvidia, NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductor), Oki, ON Semiconductor, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Renesas, BlackBerry(formerly Research In Motion), Samsung, Sharp, Silicon Labs, Sony, ST-Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Symbios Logic, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Yamaha, Xilinx, and ZiiLABS. ARM offers several microprocessor core designs, including the ARM7, ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9, and Cortex-A15. Companies often license these designs from ARM to manufacture and integrate into their own system on a chip (SoC) with other components like RAM, GPUs, or radio basebands (for mobile phones). System-on-chip packages integrating ARM's core designs include Nvidia Tegra's first three generations, CSR plc's Quatro family, ST-Ericsson's Nova and NovaThor, Silicon Labs's Precision32 MCU, Texas Instruments's OMAP products, Samsung's Hummingbird and Exynos products, Apple's Ax SoC line, and Freescale's i.MX. Companies can also obtain an ARM architectural license for designing their own CPU cores using the ARM instruction set. Distinct ARM architecture implementations by licensees include Apple's A6, AppliedMicro's XGene, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and Krait, DEC's StrongARM, Marvell (formerly Intel) XScale, and Nvidia's planned Project Denver.

Originally conceived by Acorn Computers for use in its personal computers, the first ARM-based products were the co-processor modules for the BBC Micro series of computers. After achieving success with the BBC Micro computer, Acorn Computers Ltd considered how to move on from the relatively simple MOS Technology 6502 processor to address business markets like the one that would soon be dominated by the IBM PC, launched in 1981. The Acorn Business Computer (ABC) plan required a number of second processors to be made to work with the BBC Micro platform, but processors such as the Motorola 68000 and National Semiconductor 32016 were considered to be unsuitable, and the 6502 was not powerful enough for a graphics based user interface.[12] 3/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After testing all of the available processors and finding them lacking, Acorn decided that it needed a new architecture. After reading white papers on the Berkeley RISC project, Acorn seriously considered designing its own processor. They reasoned if a class of graduate students could create a competitive 32-bit processor, then Acorn would have no problem. A visit to the Western Design Center in Phoenix, where the 6502 was being updated by what was effectively a single-person company, showed Acorn engineers Steve Furber[13] and Sophie Wilson they did not need massive resources and state-of-the-art R&D facilities. Wilson developed the instruction set, writing a simulation of the processor in BBC Basic that ran on a BBC Micro with a second 6502 processor. This convinced the Acorn engineers that they were on the right track. Wilson approached Acorn's CEO, Hermann Hauser, and requested more resources. Once approval was given, a small team was assembled to implement Wilson's model in hardware.

Acorn RISC Machine: ARM2

The official Acorn RISC Machine project started in October 1983. VLSI Technology, Inc was chosen as the "silicon partner," as they were a source of ROMs and custom chips for Acorn. The design was led by Wilson and Furber, and was consciously implemented with a similar efficiency ethos as the 6502.[14] A key design goal was achieving lowlatency input/output (interrupt) handling like the 6502. The 6502's memory access architecture had allowed developers to produce fast machines without using costly direct memory access hardware. VLSI produced the first ARM silicon on 26 April 1985 it worked the first time, and was known as ARM1 by April 1985.[2] The first production systems named ARM2 were available the following year. The first practical application of the ARM was as a second processor for the BBC Micro, where it saw use developing the simulation software to finish development of the support chips (VIDC, IOC, MEMC), and to speed up the CAD software used in ARM2 development. Wilson subsequently rewrote BBC Basic in ARM assembly language, and the indepth knowledge obtained from designing the instruction set enabled the code to be very dense, making ARM BBC Basic an extremely good test for any ARM emulator. The original aim of a principally ARM-based computer was achieved in 1987 with the release of the Acorn Archimedes.[15] In 1992, Acorn once more won the Queen's Award for Technology for the ARM. The ARM2 featured a 32-bit data bus, 26-bit address space and 27 32-bit registers. Program code had to lie within the first 64 Mbyte of memory, as the program counter was limited to 24 bits because the top 6 and bottom 2 bits of the 32-bit register served as status flags. The ARM2 had a transistor count of just 30,000, compared to Motorola's six-year-older 68000 model with 68,000. Much of this simplicity comes from the lack of microcode (which represents about one-quarter to one-third of the 68000) and, like most CPUs of the day, not including any cache. This simplicity enabled low power consumption, yet better performance than the Intel 80286.[16] A successor, ARM3, was produced with a 4 KB cache, which further improved performance. 4/21

A Conexant ARM processor used mainly in routers

The ARM1 second processor for the BBC Micro


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apple, DEC, Intel, Marvell: ARM6, StrongARM, XScale

In the late 1980s Apple Computer and VLSI Technology started working with Acorn on newer versions of the ARM core. In 1990, Acorn spun off the design team into a new company named Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. Advanced RISC Machines became ARM Ltd when its parent company, ARM Holdings plc, floated on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in 1998.[17] The new Apple-ARM work would eventually evolve into the ARM6, first released in early 1992. Apple used the ARM6-based ARM 610 as the basis for their Apple Newton PDA. In 1994, Acorn used the ARM 610 as the main central processing unit (CPU) in their Risc PC computers. DEC licensed the ARM6 architecture and produced the StrongARM. At 233 MHz, this CPU drew only one watt (newer versions draw far less). This work was later passed to Intel as a part of a lawsuit settlement, and Intel took the opportunity to supplement their i960 line with the StrongARM. Intel later developed its own high performance implementation named XScale which it has since sold to Marvell.

The ARM core has remained essentially the same size throughout these changes. ARM2 had 30,000 transistors, the ARM6 grew only to 35,000. ARM's primary business is selling IP cores, which licensees use to create microcontrollers and CPUs based on those cores. The original design manufacturer combines the ARM core with other parts to produce a complete CPU, typically one that can be built in existing semiconductor fabs at low cost and still deliver substantial performance. The most successful implementation has been the ARM7TDMI with hundreds of millions sold. Atmel has been a precursor design center in the ARM7TDMI-based embedded system. The ARM architectures used in smartphones, personal digital assistants and other mobile devices range from ARMv5, used in low-end devices, to ARMv6, to the Cortex A-Series (ARMv7) in current high-end devices. ARMv7 includes a hardware floating point unit, with improved speed compared to software-based floating point. In 2009, some manufacturers introduced netbooks based on ARM architecture CPUs, in direct competition with netbooks based on Intel Atom.[18] According to analyst firm IHS iSuppli, by 2015, ARM ICs are estimated to be in 23% of all laptops.[19] In 2011, HiSilicon Technologies Co. Ltd. licensed ARM technology for use in communications chip designs. These included 3G/4G base stations, networking infrastructure and mobile computing applications.[20]

ARM cores
Main article: List of ARM microprocessor cores



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Architecture ARMv1 ARMv2 ARMv3 ARMv4 ARMv5 ARMv6 ARMv6-M ARMv7 ARMv7-M ARMv8-A ARM1 ARM2, ARM3 ARM6, ARM7 StrongARM, ARM7TDMI, ARM9TDMI ARM7EJ, ARM9E, ARM10E, XScale ARM11


ARM Cortex-M0, ARM Cortex-M0+, ARM Cortex-M1 ARM Cortex-A5, ARM Cortex-A7, ARM Cortex-A8, ARM Cortex-A9, ARM Cortex-A15, ARM Cortex-R4, ARM Cortex-R5, ARM Cortex-R7 ARM Cortex-M3, ARM Cortex-M4 ARM Cortex-A53, ARM Cortex-A57 [21]

A list of vendors who implement ARM cores in their design is provided by ARM.[22]

Example applications of ARM cores

Main article: List of applications of ARM cores ARM cores are used in a number of products, particularly PDAs and smartphones. Some computing examples are the Microsoft Surface, Apple iPad and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. Others include the Apple iPhone smartphone, iPod portable media player, Canon PowerShot A470 digital camera, Nintendo DS handheld game console and TomTom turn-by-turn navigation system. In 2005, ARM took part in the development of Manchester University's computer, SpiNNaker, which used ARM cores to simulate the human brain.[23] ARM chips are also used in Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard, BeagleBone, PandaBoard, and other Single-board computers, because they are very small, inexpensive and consume very little power.

From 1995, the ARM Architecture Reference Manual ( has been the primary source of documentation on the ARM processor architecture and instruction set, distinguishing interfaces that all ARM processors are required to support (such as instruction semantics) from implementation details that may vary. The architecture has evolved over time, and starting with the Cortex series of cores, three "profiles" are defined: "Application" profile: Cortex-A series "Real-time" profile: Cortex-R series "Microcontroller" profile: Cortex-M series. 6/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Profiles are allowed to subset the architecture. For example, the ARMv6-M profile (used by the Cortex M0 / M0+ / M1) is a subset of the ARMv7-M profile which supports fewer instructions.

CPU modes
The ARM architecture specifies the following eight (8) CPU modes. At any moment in time, the CPU can be in only one mode, but it can switch modes due to external events (interrupts) or programmatically. User mode The only non-privileged mode. System mode The only privileged mode that is not entered by an exception. It can only be entered by executing an instruction that explicitly writes to the mode bits of the CPSR. Supervisor (svc) mode A privileged mode entered whenever the CPU is reset or when a SWI instruction is executed. Abort mode A privileged mode that is entered whenever a prefetch abort or data abort exception occurs. Undefined mode A privileged mode that is entered whenever an undefined instruction exception occurs. Interrupt mode A privileged mode that is entered whenever the processor accepts an IRQ interrupt. Fast Interrupt mode A privileged mode that is entered whenever the processor accepts an FIQ interrupt. Hyp mode A hypervisor mode introduced in armv-7a for cortex-A15 processor for providing hardware virtualization support.

Instruction set
The original ARM implementation was hardwired without microcode, like the much simpler 8-bit 6502 processor used in prior Acorn microcomputers. The ARM architecture includes the following RISC features: Load/store architecture. No support for misaligned memory accesses (although now supported in ARMv6 cores, with some exceptions related to load/store multiple word instructions). Uniform 16 32-bit register file. Fixed instruction width of 32 bits to ease decoding and pipelining, at the cost of decreased code density. Later, the Thumb instruction set increased code density. Mostly single clock-cycle execution. To compensate for the simpler design, compared with processors like the Intel 80286 and Motorola 68020, some additional design features were used: Conditional execution of most instructions, reducing branch overhead and compensating for the lack of a branch predictor. 7/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arithmetic instructions alter condition codes only when desired. 32-bit barrel shifter which can be used without performance penalty with most arithmetic instructions and address calculations. Powerful indexed addressing modes. A link register for fast leaf function calls. Simple, but fast, 2-priority-level interrupt subsystem with switched register banks. Arithmetic instructions The ARM supports add, subtract, and multiply instructions. The integer divide instructions are only implemented by ARM cores based on the following ARM architectures: ARMv7-M and ARMv7E-M architectures always includes divide instructions.[24] ARMv7-R architecture always includes divide instructions in the Thumb instruction set, but optionally in the ARM instruction set.[25] ARMv7-A architecture optionally includes the divide instructions. The instructions might not be implemented, or implemented only in the Thumb instruction set, or implemented in both the Thumb and ARM instructions sets, or implemented if the Virtualization Extensions are included.[25] Registers Registers R0-R7 are the same across all CPU modes; they are never banked. R13 and R14 are banked across all privileged CPU modes except system mode. That is, each mode that can be entered because of an exception has its own R13 and R14. These registers generally contain the stack pointer and the return address from function calls, respectively.



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Registers across CPU modes usr sys svc abt R0 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R13_svc R14_svc R13_abt R14_abt R13_und R14_und R15 CPSR SPSR_svc SPSR_abt SPSR_und SPSR_irq SPSR_fiq Aliases: R13 is also referred to as SP, the Stack Pointer. R14 is also referred to as LR, the Link Register. R15 is also referred to as PC, the Program Counter. Conditional execution The conditional execution feature (called predication) is implemented with a 4-bit condition code selector (the predicate) on every instruction; one of the four-bit codes is reserved as an "escape code" to specify certain unconditional instructions, but nearly all common instructions are conditional. Most CPU architectures only have condition codes on branch instructions. This cuts down significantly on the encoding bits available for displacements in memory access instructions, but avoids branch instructions when generating code for small i fstatements. The standard example of this is the subtraction-based Euclidean algorithm: In the C programming language, the loop is: 9/21




R8_fiq R9_fiq R10_fiq R11_fiq R12_fiq R13_irq R14_irq R13_fiq R14_fiq


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

w h i l e( i! =j ){ i f( i>j ) i=j ; e l s e j=i ; }

In ARM assembly, the loop is:

l o o p : C M P R i ,R j S U B G T R i ,R i ,R j S U B L T R j ,R j ,R i B N E l o o p ;s e tc o n d i t i o n" N E "i f( i! =j ) , ; " G T "i f( i>j ) , ; o r" L T "i f( i<j ) ;i f" G T "( g r e a t e rt h a n ) ,i=i j ; ;i f" L T "( l e s st h a n ) ,j=j i ; ;i f" N E "( n o te q u a l ) ,t h e nl o o p

which avoids the branches around the t h e nand e l s eclauses. If R iand R jare equal then neither of the S U B instructions will be executed, eliminating the need for a conditional branch to implement the w h i l echeck at the top of the loop, for example had S U B L E(less than or equal) been used. One of the ways that Thumb code provides a more dense encoding is to remove the four bit selector from nonbranch instructions. Other features Another feature of the instruction set is the ability to fold shifts and rotates into the "data processing" (arithmetic, logical, and register-register move) instructions, so that, for example, the C statement
a+ =( j< <2 ) ;

could be rendered as a single-word, single-cycle instruction on the ARM.[26]

A D D R a ,R a ,R j ,L S L# 2

This results in the typical ARM program being denser than expected with fewer memory accesses; thus the pipeline is used more efficiently. The ARM processor also has features rarely seen in other RISC architectures, such as PC-relative addressing (indeed, on the 32-bit[1] ARM the PC is one of its 16 registers) and pre- and post-increment addressing modes. The ARM instruction set has increased over time. Some early ARM processors (before ARM7TDMI), for example, have no instruction to store a two-byte quantity. Pipelines and other implementation issues The ARM7 and earlier implementations have a three stage pipeline; the stages being fetch, decode, and execute. Higher performance designs, such as the ARM9, have deeper pipelines: Cortex-A8 has thirteen stages. Additional implementation changes for higher performance include a faster adder, and more extensive branch prediction logic. 10/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The difference between the ARM7DI and ARM7DMI cores, for example, was an improved multiplier (hence the added "M"). Coprocessors The ARM architecture provides a non-intrusive way of extending the instruction set using "coprocessors" which can be addressed using MCR, MRC, MRRC, MCRR, and similar instructions. The coprocessor space is divided logically into 16 coprocessors with numbers from 0 to 15, coprocessor 15 (cp15) being reserved for some typical control functions like managing the caches and MMU operation (on processors that have one). In ARM-based machines, peripheral devices are usually attached to the processor by mapping their physical registers into ARM memory space or into the coprocessor space or connecting to another device (a bus) which in turn attaches to the processor. Coprocessor accesses have lower latency so some peripherals (for example an XScale interrupt controller) are designed to be accessible in both ways (through memory and through coprocessors). In other cases, chip designers only integrate hardware using the coprocessor mechanism. For example, an image processing engine might be a small ARM7TDMI core combined with a coprocessor that has specialised operations to support a specific set of HDTV transcoding primitives.

All modern ARM processors include hardware debugging facilities, allowing software debuggers to perform operations such as halting, stepping, and breakpointing of code starting from reset. These facilities are built using JTAG support, though some newer cores optionally support ARM's own two-wire "SWD" protocol. In ARM7TDMI cores, the "D" represented JTAG debug support, and the "I" represented presence of an "EmbeddedICE" debug module. For ARM7 and ARM9 core generations, EmbeddedICE over JTAG was a de facto debug standard, although it was not architecturally guaranteed. The ARMv7 architecture defines basic debug facilities at an architectural level. These include breakpoints, watchpoints, and instruction execution in a "Debug Mode"; similar facilities were also available with EmbeddedICE. Both "halt mode" and "monitor" mode debugging are supported. The actual transport mechanism used to access the debug facilities is not architecturally specified, but implementations generally include JTAG support. There is a separate ARM "CoreSight" debug architecture, which is not architecturally required by ARMv7 processors.

DSP enhancement instructions

To improve the ARM architecture for digital signal processing and multimedia applications, DSP instructions were added to the set.[27] These are signified by an "E" in the name of the ARMv5TE and ARMv5TEJ architectures. Evariants also imply T,D,M and I. The new instructions are common in digital signal processor architectures. They include variations on signed multiplyaccumulate, saturated add and subtract, and count leading zeros.

Jazelle 11/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main article: Jazelle Jazelle DBX (Direct Bytecode eXecution) is a technique that allows Java Bytecode to be executed directly in the ARM architecture as a third execution state (and instruction set) alongside the existing ARM and Thumb-mode. Support for this state is signified by the "J" in the ARMv5TEJ architecture, and in ARM9EJ-S and ARM7EJ-S core names. Support for this state is required starting in ARMv6 (except for the ARMv7-M profile), although newer cores only include a trivial implementation that provides no hardware acceleration.

To improve compiled code-density, processors since the ARM7TDMI (released in 1994[28]) have featured Thumb instruction set, which have their own state. (The "T" in "TDMI" indicates the Thumb feature.) When in this state, the processor executes the Thumb instruction set, a compact 16-bit encoding for a subset of the ARM instruction set.[29] Most of the Thumb instructions are directly mapped to normal ARM instructions. The spacesaving comes from making some of the instruction operands implicit and limiting the number of possibilities compared to the ARM instructions executed in the ARM instruction set state. In Thumb, the 16-bit opcodes have less functionality. For example, only branches can be conditional, and many opcodes are restricted to accessing only half of all of the CPU's general purpose registers. The shorter opcodes give improved code density overall, even though some operations require extra instructions. In situations where the memory port or bus width is constrained to less than 32 bits, the shorter Thumb opcodes allow increased performance compared with 32-bit ARM code, as less program code may need to be loaded into the processor over the constrained memory bandwidth. Embedded hardware, such as the Game Boy Advance, typically have a small amount of RAM accessible with a full 32-bit datapath; the majority is accessed via a 16 bit or narrower secondary datapath. In this situation, it usually makes sense to compile Thumb code and hand-optimise a few of the most CPU-intensive sections using full 32-bit ARM instructions, placing these wider instructions into the 32-bit bus accessible memory. The first processor with a Thumb instruction decoder was the ARM7TDMI. All ARM9 and later families, including XScale, have included a Thumb instruction decoder.

Thumb-2 technology was introduced in the ARM1156 core, announced in 2003. Thumb-2 extends the limited 16bit instruction set of Thumb with additional 32-bit instructions to give the instruction set more breadth, thus producing a variable-length instruction set. A stated aim for Thumb-2 was to achieve code density similar to Thumb with performance similar to the ARM instruction set on 32-bit memory. In ARMv7 this goal can be said to have been met.[citation needed ] Thumb-2 extends both the ARM and Thumb instruction set with bit-field manipulation, table branches, and conditional execution. A new "Unified Assembly Language" (UAL) supports generation of either Thumb-2 or ARM instructions from the same source code; versions of Thumb seen on ARMv7 processors are essentially as capable as ARM code (including the ability to write interrupt handlers). This requires a bit of care, and use of a new "IT" (ifthen) instruction, which permits up to four successive instructions to execute based on a tested condition. When compiling into ARM code this is ignored, but when compiling into Thumb-2 it generates an actual instruction. For example: 12/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

;i f( r 0= =r 1 ) C M Pr 0 ,r 1 I T EE Q ;A R M :n oc o d e. . .T h u m b :I Ti n s t r u c t i o n ;t h e nr 0=r 2 ; M O V E Qr 0 ,r 2 ;A R M :c o n d i t i o n a l ;T h u m b :c o n d i t i o nv i aI T E' T '( t h e n ) ;e l s er 0=r 3 ; M O V N Er 0 ,r 3 ;A R M :c o n d i t i o n a l ;T h u m b :c o n d i t i o nv i aI T E' E '( e l s e ) ;r e c a l lt h a tt h eT h u m bM O Vi n s t r u c t i o nh a sn ob i t st oe n c o d e" E Q "o r" N E "

All ARMv7 chips support the Thumb-2 instruction set. Other chips in the Cortex and ARM11 series support both "ARM instruction set state" and "Thumb-2 instruction set state".[30][31][32]

Thumb Execution Environment (ThumbEE)

ThumbEE, also termed Thumb-2EE, and marketed as Jazelle RCT ( (Runtime Compilation Target), was announced in 2005, first appearing in the Cortex-A8 processor. ThumbEE is a fourth processor mode, making small changes to the Thumb-2 extended Thumb instruction set. These changes make the instruction set particularly suited to code generated at runtime (e.g. by JIT compilation) in managed Execution Environments. ThumbEE is a target for languages such as Java, C#, Perl, and Python, and allows JIT compilers to output smaller compiled code without impacting performance. On 23 November 2011, ARM deprecates any use of the ThumbEE instruction set.[33] New features provided by ThumbEE include automatic null pointer checks on every load and store instruction, an instruction to perform an array bounds check, access to registers r8-r15 (where the Jazelle/DBX Java VM state is held), and special instructions that call a handler.[34] Handlers are small sections of frequently called code, commonly used to implement high level languages, such as allocating memory for a new object. These changes come from repurposing a handful of opcodes, and knowing the core is in the new ThumbEE mode.

Floating-point (VFP)
VFP (Vector Floating Point) technology is an FPU coprocessor extension to the ARM architecture. It provides low-cost single-precision and double-precision floating-point computation fully compliant with the ANSI/IEEE Std 754-1985 Standard for Binary Floating-Point Arithmetic. VFP provides floating-point computation suitable for a wide spectrum of applications such as PDAs, smartphones, voice compression and decompression, threedimensional graphics and digital audio, printers, set-top boxes, and automotive applications. The VFP architecture was intended to support execution of short "vector mode" instructions but these operated on each vector element sequentially and thus did not offer the performance of true single instruction, multiple data (SIMD) vector parallelism. This vector mode was therefore removed shortly after its introduction,[35] to be replaced with the much more powerful NEON Advanced SIMD unit. Some devices such as the ARM Cortex-A8 have a cut-down VFPLite module instead of a full VFP module, and require roughly ten times more clock cycles per float operation.[36] Other floating-point and/or SIMD coprocessors found in ARM-based processors include FPA, FPE, iwMMXt. They provide some of the same functionality as VFP but are not opcode-compatible with it.

Advanced SIMD (NEON)



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Advanced SIMD extension (aka NEON or "MPE" Media Processing Engine) is a combined 64- and 128-bit single instruction multiple data (SIMD) instruction set that provides standardised acceleration for media and signal processing applications. NEON is included in all Cortex-A8 devices but is optional in Cortex-A9 devices.[37] NEON can execute MP3 audio decoding on CPUs running at 10 MHz and can run the GSM adaptive multi-rate (AMR) speech codec at no more than 13 MHz. It features a comprehensive instruction set, separate register files and independent execution hardware.[38] NEON supports 8-, 16-, 32- and 64-bit integer and single-precision (32bit) floating-point data and SIMD operations for handling audio and video processing as well as graphics and gaming processing. In NEON, the SIMD supports up to 16 operations at the same time. The NEON hardware shares the same floating-point registers as used in VFP. Devices such as the ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 support 128-bit vectors but will execute with 64 bits at a time,[36] whereas newer Cortex-A15 devices can execute 128 bits at a time.

Security Extensions (TrustZone)

The Security Extensions, marketed as TrustZone Technology, is found in ARMv6KZ and later application profile architectures. It provides a low cost alternative to adding an additional dedicated security core to an SoC, by providing two virtual processors backed by hardware based access control. This enables the application core to switch between two states, referred to as worlds (to reduce confusion with other names for capability domains), in order to prevent information from leaking from the more trusted world to the less trusted world. This world switch is generally orthogonal to all other capabilities of the processor, thus each world can operate independently of the other while using the same core. Memory and peripherals are then made aware of the operating world of the core and may use this to provide access control to secrets and code on the device. Typical applications of TrustZone Technology are to run a rich operating system in the less trusted world, and smaller security-specialized code in the more trusted world (named TrustZone Software, a TrustZone optimised version of the Trusted Foundations Software developed by Trusted Logic Mobility ( ), allowing much tighter digital rights management for controlling the use of media on ARM-based devices,[39] and preventing any unapproved use of the device. Trusted Foundations Software was acquired by Gemalto. Giesecke & Devrient developed a rival implementation named Mobicore. In April 2012 ARM Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient combined their Trustzone portfolios into a joint venture[40] Trustonic ( . Open Virtualization ( is an open source implementation of the trusted world architecture for TrustZone. In practice, since the specific implementation details of TrustZone are proprietary and have not been publicly disclosed for review, it is unclear what level of assurance is provided for a given threat model.

No-execute page protection

As of ARMv6, the ARM architecture supports no-execute page protection, which is referred to as XN, for eXecute Never.[41]

ARMv8 and 64-bit

Released in late 2011, ARMv8 represents a fundamental change to the ARM architecture. It adds a 64-bit architecture, dubbed 'AArch64', and a new 'A64' instruction set. Within the context of ARMv8, the 32-bit architecture and instruction set are referred to as 'AArch32' and 'A32', respectively. The Thumb instruction sets are referred to as 'T32' and have no 64-bit counterpart. ARMv8 allows 32-bit applications to be executed in a 64-bit 14/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OS, and for a 32-bit OS to be under the control of a 64-bit hypervisor.[1] Applied Micro, AMD, Broadcom, Calxeda, HiSilicon, Samsung, ST Microelectronics and other companies have announced implementation plans.[42][43][44][45] ARM announced their Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores on 30 October 2012.[21] To both AArch32 and AArch64, ARMv8 makes VFPv3/v4 and advanced SIMD (NEON) standard. It also adds cryptography instructions supporting AES and SHA-1/SHA-256. AArch64 features: New instruction set, A64 31 general-purpose 64-bit registers Instructions are still 32 bits long and mostly the same as A32 Most instructions can take 32-bit or 64-bit arguments Addresses assumed to be 64-bit Advanced SIMD (NEON) enhanced Has 32 128-bit registers (up from 16), also accessible via VFPv4 Supports double-precision floating point Fully IEEE 754 compliant AES encrypt/decrypt and SHA-1/SHA-2 hashing instructions also use these registers A new exception system Fewer banked registers and modes Memory translation from 48-bit virtual addresses based on the existing LPAE, which was designed to be easily extended to 64-bit OS support: Linux patches adding ARMv8 support have been posted for review by Catalin Marinas of ARM ltd. The patches have been included in Linux kernel version 3.7.[46]

ARM licensees
ARM Ltd does not manufacture or sell CPU devices based on its own designs, but rather, licenses the processor architecture to interested parties. ARM offers a variety of licensing terms, varying in cost and deliverables. To all licensees, ARM provides an integratable hardware description of the ARM core, as well as complete software development toolset (compiler, debugger, SDK), and the right to sell manufactured silicon containing the ARM CPU. Fabless licensees, who wish to integrate an ARM core into their own chip design, are usually only interested in acquiring a ready-to-manufacture verified IP core. For these customers, ARM delivers a gate netlist description of the chosen ARM core, along with an abstracted simulation model and test programs to aid design integration and verification. More ambitious customers, including integrated device manufacturers (IDM) and foundry operators, choose to acquire the processor IP in synthesizable RTL (Verilog) form. With the synthesizable RTL, the customer has the ability to perform architectural level optimisations and extensions. This allows the designer to achieve exotic design goals not otherwise possible with an unmodified netlist (high clock speed, very low power consumption, instruction set extensions, etc.). While ARM does not grant the licensee the right to resell the ARM architecture



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

itself, licensees may freely sell manufactured product (chip devices, evaluation boards, complete systems, etc.). Merchant foundries can be a special case; not only are they allowed to sell finished silicon containing ARM cores, they generally hold the right to re-manufacture ARM cores for other customers. ARM prices its IP based on perceived value; lower performing ARM cores typically have lower license costs than higher performing cores. In implementation terms, a synthesizable core costs more than a hard macro (blackbox) core. Complicating price matters, a merchant foundry which holds an ARM license (such as Samsung and Fujitsu) can offer reduced licensing costs to its fab customers. In exchange for acquiring the ARM core through the foundry's in-house design services, the customer can reduce or eliminate payment of ARM's upfront license fee. Compared to dedicated semiconductor foundries (such as TSMC and UMC) without in-house design services, Fujitsu/Samsung charge 2 to 3 times more per manufactured wafer. For low to mid volume applications, a design service foundry offers lower overall pricing (through subsidisation of the license fee). For high volume massproduced parts, the long term cost reduction achievable through lower wafer pricing reduces the impact of ARM's NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering) costs, making the dedicated foundry a better choice. Many semiconductor or IC design firms hold ARM licenses: Analog Devices, AppliedMicro, Atmel, Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, Energy Micro, Faraday Technology, Freescale, Fujitsu, Intel (through its settlement with Digital Equipment Corporation), IBM, Infineon Technologies (Infineon XMC4000 32bit mcu family), Marvell Technology Group, Nintendo, Nvidia, NXP Semiconductors, OKI, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sharp, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments are some of the many companies who have licensed the ARM in one form or another.

Approximate licensing costs

ARM's 2006 annual report and accounts state that royalties totalling 88.7 million ($164.1 million) were the result of licensees shipping 2.45 billion units.[47] This is equivalent to 0.036 ($0.067) per unit shipped. This is averaged across all cores, including expensive new cores and inexpensive older cores. In the same year ARM's licensing revenues for processor cores were 65.2 million (US$119.5 million),[48] in a year when 65 processor licenses were signed,[49] an average of 1 million ($1.84 million) per license. Again, this is averaged across both new and old cores. Given that ARM's 2006 income from processor cores was approximately 60% from royalties and 40% from licenses, ARM makes the equivalent of 0.06 ($0.11) per unit shipped including both royalties and licenses. However, as one-off licenses are typically bought for new technologies, unit sales (and hence royalties) are dominated by more established products. Hence, the figures above do not reflect the true costs of any single ARM product.

Operating systems
Historical operating systems
The very first ARM-based Acorn Archimedes personal computers ran an interim operating system called Arthur, which evolved into RISC OS, used on later ARM-based systems from Acorn and other vendors.

Embedded operating systems



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The ARM architecture is supported by a large number of embedded and real-time operating systems, including Windows CE, Symbian, ChibiOS/RT, FreeRTOS, eCos, Integrity, Nucleus PLUS, MicroC/OS-II, QNX, RTEMS, RTXC Quadros, ThreadX, VxWorks, DRYOS, MQX and OSE.

Mobile Device operating systems

The ARM architecture is the primary hardware environment for most mobile device operating systems such as iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS and Android.

Desktop operating systems

The ARM architecture is supported by Windows RT and multiple Unix-like operating systems, including BSD and various Linux distributions such as Chrome OS.

See also
AMULET microprocessor ARMulator OVPsim Amber (processor core)

1. ^ a b c d Grisenthwaite, Richard (2011). "ARMv8 Technology Preview" ( . Retrieved 31 October 2011. 2. ^ a b "Some facts about the Acorn RISC Machine" ( Roger Wilson posting to comp.arch, 2 November 1988. Retrieved 25 May 2007. 3. ^ "ARM Cores Climb Into 3G Territory" ( by Mark Hachman, 2002. 4. ^ "The Two Percent Solution" ( by Jim Turley 2002. 5. ^ ARM Holdings eager for PC and server expansion ( , 1 Feb 2011, 6. ^ Kerry McGuire Balanza (11 May 2010), ARM from zero to billions in 25 short years ( , ARM,, retrieved 8 Nov 2012 7. ^ Ken Masterton, What makes ARM-based chips relatively power efficient? (

Android, a popular[50] operating system running on the ARM architecture



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


9. 10.



13. 14.

15. 16.

17. 18.





efficient) , Quora,, retrieved 13 Nov 2012 ^ AMD in chip tie-up with UK's ARM ( , BBC, 30 October 2012,, retrieved 8 Nov 2012 ^ "ARMed for the living room" ( . ^ Fitzpatrick, J. (2011). "An interview with Steve Furber" ( . Communications of the ACM 54 (5): 34. doi:10.1145/1941487.1941501 ( . ^ "AMD Strengthens Security Solutions through Technology Partnership with ARM " ( . ^ Manners, David (29 April 1998). "ARM's way" ( . Electronics Weekly. Retrieved 26 October 2012. ^ Furber, Stephen B. (2000). ARM system-on-chip architecture. Boston: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-67519-6. ^ Goodwins, Rupert (4 December 2010). "Intel's victims: Eight would-be giant killers" ( . ZDNet. Retrieved 7 March 2012. ^ Acorn Archimedes Promotion from 1987 ( v=hrj-EEnsacQ) ^ Patterson, Jason. The Acorn Archimedes" ( , The History Of Computers During My Lifetime The 1980s. Retrieved 12 March 2008. ^ "ARM Corporate Backgrounder" ( , ARM Technology. ^ "ARM netbook ships with detachable tablet" ( by Eric Brown 2009 ^ Dylan McGrath, EE Times. "IHS: ARM ICs to be in 23% of laptops in 2015 ( ." 18 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011. ^ Peter Clarke, EE Times. "HiSilicon extends ARM licenses for 3G/4G ( ." 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. ^ a b "ARM Launches Cortex-A50 Series, the Worlds Most Energy-Efficient 64-bit Processors" ( (Press release). ARM Holdings. Retrieved 2012-10-31. ^ "Line Card"


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 22. ^ "Line Card" ( inecard.pdf) (PDF). 2003. necard.pdf. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 23. ^ Parrish, Kevin (14 July 2011). "One Million ARM Cores Linked to Simulate Brain" ( . EE Times. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 24. ^ "ARMv7-M Architecture Reference Manual; ARM Holdings" ( . Retrieved 2013-01-19. 25. ^ a b "ARMv7-A and ARMv7-R Architecture Reference Manual; ARM Holdings" ( . Retrieved 2013-01-19. 26. ^ "9.1.2. Instruction cycle counts" ( topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0214b/ch09s01s02.html) . topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0214b/ch09s01s02.html. 27. ^ "ARM DSP Instruction Set Extensions" ( . Archived ( CPUs/cpu-arch-DSP.html) from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 28. ^ ARM7TDMI Technical Reference Manual ( page ii 29. ^ Jaggar, Dave (1996). ARM Architecture Reference Manual. Prentice Hall. pp. 61. ISBN 978-0-13-736299-8. 30. ^ "ARM Processor Instruction Set Architecture" ( . Archived ( rchitecture.html) from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 31. ^ "ARM aims son of Thumb at uCs, ASSPs, SoCs" ( . Retrieved 18 April 2009. 32. ^ "ARM Information Center" ( topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0290g/I1005458.html) . topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0290g/I1005458.html. Retrieved 18 April 2009. 33. ^ ARM Architecture Reference Manual, ARMv7-A and ARMv7-R edition, issue C.b, 24 July 2012. 34. ^ "Arm strengthens Java compilers: New 16-Bit Thumb-2EE Instructions Conserve System Memory" ( by Tom R. Halfhill 2005. 35. ^ "VFP directives and vector notation" ( topic=/com.arm.doc.dui0204j/Chdehgeh.html) . 19/21


ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia topic=/com.arm.doc.dui0204j/Chdehgeh.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 36. ^ a b "Differences between ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9" ( . Shervin Emami. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 37. ^ "Cortex-A9 Processor" ( . Retrieved 21 November 2011. 38. ^ "About the Cortex-A9 NEON MPE" ( topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0409f/Chdceejc.html) . topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0409f/Chdceejc.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 39. ^ "ARM Announces Availability of Mobile Consumer DRM Software Solutions Based on ARM T" ( . Retrieved 18 April 2009. 40. ^ "ARM, Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient Form Joint Venture To" ( . ARM. 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 41. ^ "APX and XN (execute never) bits have been added in VMSAv6 [Virtual Memory System Architecture]", ARM Architecture Reference Manual ( . Retrieved 2009/12/01. 42. ^ Anand Lal Shimpi (2011-11-14). "Applied Micro's X-Gene: The First ARMv8 SoC" ( . AnandTech. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 43. ^ Lawrence Latif (Oct 30 2012). "AMD says ARM based Opteron chips will appear in 2014" ( . The Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 44. ^ Anand Lal Shimpi. "AMD Will Build 64-bit ARM based Opteron CPUs for Servers, Production in 2014" ( . AnandTech. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 45. ^ ARM Keynote: ARM Cortex-A53 and ARM Cortex-A57 64bit ARMv8 processors launched ( on 46. ^ Linus Torvalds (1 October 2012). "Re: [GIT PULL] arm64: Linux kernel port" ( . Linux kernel mailing list. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 47. ^ "Business review/Financial review/IFRS", p. 10, ARM annual report and accounts, 2006 ( . Retrieved 7 May 2007. 48. ^ Based on total 110.6 million ($202.5 million) divided by "License revenues



ARM architecture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

48. ^ Based on total 110.6 million ($202.5 million) divided by "License revenues by product"; "Business review/Financial review/IFRS" and "Key performance indicators" respectively, p. 10 / p. 3 ARM annual report and accounts, 2006 ( . Retrieved 7 May 2007. 49. ^ "Key performance indicators", p. 3, ARM annual report and accounts, 2006 ( . Retrieved 7 May 2007. 50. ^ Pettey, Christy. "Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 3 Percent in Third Quarter of 2012; Smartphone Sales Increased 47 Percent" ( . Gartner, Inc.. Retrieved 15 November 2012.

Further reading
The Definitive Guide to the ARM Cortex-M0; 1st Edition; Joseph Yiu; Newnes; 552 pages; 2011; ISBN 978-0-12-385477-3. (Online Sample) ( id=5OZblBzjsJ0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9780123854773) The Definitive Guide to the ARM Cortex-M3; 2nd Edition; Joseph Yiu; Newnes; 480 pages; 2009; ISBN 978-1-85617-963-8. (Online Sample) ( id=mb5d_xeINZEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9781856179638) ARM Accredited Engineer certification program

External links
Official website ( , ARM Ltd. Quick Reference Cards Instructions: Thumb (1 ( ), ARM and Thumb2 (2 ( ), Vector Floating Point (3 ( ) Opcodes: Thumb (1 ( , 2 ( ), ARM (3 ( , 4 ( ), GNU Assembler Directives 5 ( . Retrieved from "" Categories: Acorn Computers ARM architecture Instruction set architectures 1983 introductions This page was last modified on 7 March 2013 at 05:36. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. 21/21