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ARM7 Processor Family

ARM7 Processor Family Image
 

Note: The ARM7 processor family (ARM7TDMI(S) and ARM7EJ-S) is not recommended for new designs.

Introduced in 1994, the ARM7™ processor family has been immensely successful, and has helped establish ARM as the architecture of choice in the digital world. Over the years, more than 10 billion ARM7 processor family-based devices have powered a wide variety of cost and power-sensitive applications.

While the ARM7 processor family continues to be used today for simple 32-bit devices, newer embedded designs are increasingly making use of latest ARM processors such as the Cortex™-M0 and Cortex-M3 processors, both of which offer significant technical enhancements over the ARM7 family.

Upgrading to the Architecture for tomorrow's Digital World

Design migration from the ARM7

The ARM7 family is the world's most widely used 32-bit embedded processor family, with more than 170 silicon licensees and over 10 Billion units shipped since its introduction in 1994.

While the ARM7 processor family continues to be used today for simple 32-bit devices, newer digital designs are increasingly making use of the newer, more powerful and feature-rich ARM processors which offer significant technical enhancements over the ARM7 family.

System designers wishing to upgrade from ARM7 benefit from a robust ARM processor roadmap providing multiple upgrade options, including the latest Cortex processors.

In most cases migration is straightforward, and brings significant benefits in PPA, features and efficiency.


ARM7 CPU Alternatives (Roadmap)


The table below presents the most common upward migration paths for adapting current ARM7 based designs for the next generation.

Current processor Upgrade driver Alternative ARM processors Benefits of upgrading
ARM7TDMI-S Application upgrade ARM926EJ-S, ARM968E-S, Cortex-A Series
  • Higher performance
  • More features
Cortex-R Series
  • Better determinism for real-time processing
  • Higher performance
  • More features
Socket upgrade Cortex-M0
  • 1/3rd the silicon area
  • 3x power savings
  • Flexible, powerful and fully deterministic interrupt handling
  • Higher code density
  • Simplified software development
Cortex-M3
  • Higher performance
  • Superior efficiency and flexibility
  • Flexible, powerful and fully deterministic interrupt handling
  • Low power modes
  • Higher code density
  • Simplified software development
ARM7EJ-S Application upgrade ARM926EJ-S
  • Higher performance
  • More features

Upgrading options from ARM7TDMI-S for the Embedded market

For ARM7TDMI-S users in the embedded market, the Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3 processors offer a much superior alternative, enabling tomorrow's embedded applications by delivering more features at a lower cost, increasing connectivity, better code reuse, and improved energy efficiency.

Features ARM7TDMI Cortex-M0/M3 Benefits of upgrading
Interrupt controller No standard interrupt controller Integrated Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC) Flexible and powerful interrupt handling
ISR entry Non-deterministic ISR entry H/W stacking ensures deterministic ISR entry Fully deterministic interrupt handling
Power management No in-built power management Architected sleep mode support Extremely low power modes
Need for assembly language code Assembler code required (for ISR etc) No assembler code required
  • Simplified software development
  • Code everything in C
  • Reduced Project cost/timescales
Instruction set Performance v/s Code size Optimal performance-code size balance requires interworking between ARM & Thumb code Thumb-2 offers ARM performance at Thumb code density
  • Simplified programmers model
  • Superior code density
  • Simplified software development
Ease of application porting from one device to another Lack of standardization inhibits application porting NVIC, SysTick & Memory Map defined CMSIS Compatible
  • Standardization enables IP reuse
  • Faster Time to Market

For advice on porting software written for the ARM7TDMI-S to the Cortex-M3 processor, please read the whitepaper "ARM Cortex-M3 Processor Software Development for ARM7TDMI Processor Programmers"

For a detailed comparison between ARM7 family processors and the latest ARM alternatives, please use the Processor Selector.

 
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