Cortex-A Series

Efficient application processors for every level of performance

ARM Cortex-A processors are at the heart of the most powerful and compelling technology products. They are deployed in mobile devices, networking infrastructure, home and consumer devices, automotive in-vehicle infotainment and driver automation systems, and embedded designs.

Cortex-A processors provide compatibility with the vast ecosystem of software built for the ARM architecture, from the operating system layer to drivers and user space applications. As applications processors they all feature a full memory management unit and the ability to run a rich Operating System (OS) across multiple coherent CPU cores. As Cortex-A processors, they are built with a focus on power efficiency that has always been a hallmark of ARM’s success.

The Cortex-A series is divided in 3 processor tiers: High Performance, High Efficiency, and Ultra High Efficiency. The premium performance tier are built as efficiently as possible for a given performance target. The high efficiency and ultra-high efficiency tiers are built with as much performance as possible for a given efficiency target. All are compatible with the ARM architecture and ecosystem, and created to work efficiently in modern SoC designs.


High performance

Cortex-A72 - 64/32 ARMv8-A
Highest performance 64/32 bit CPU

Cortex-A57 - 64/32 ARMv8-A
Proven high-performance 64/32 bit CPU

Cortex-A17 - ARMv7-A
High-performance with lower poiwer and smaller area relative to Cortex-A15

Cortex-A15 - ARMv7-A
High-performance with infrastructure feature set

High efficiency

Cortex-A53 - 64/32 ARMv8-A
Balanced performance and efficiency 64/32 bit CPU

Cortex-A9 - ARMv7-A
Well-established mid-range processor used in many markets

Ultra-high efficiency

Cortex-A35 - 64/32 ARMv8-A
Highest efficiency 64/32 bit CPU

Cortex-A32 - 32 ARMv8-A
Smallest and lower power 32-bit ARMv8-A

Cortex-A7 - ARMv7-A
Most efficent ARMv7-A CPU, higher performance than Cortex-A5

Cortex-A5 - ARMv7-A
Smallest and lower power ARMv7-A CPU, optimized for single-core

Cortex-A applications

Cortex-A series processors scale efficiently across a range of mobile, consumer, embedded and infrastructure devices. Cortex-A processors have shipped over 11 billion units across markets such as:

Automotive IVI &
ADAS systems
Digital TV
Home gateways
Industrial robotics
Server & networking
Set-top boxes &
satellite receivers
Tablets & readers

Cortex-A characteristics

All Cortex-A based processors share a commonly supported architecture and feature set. ARMv7-A processors support a 32-bit instruction set and data path as well as the mixed 16/32-bit Thumb2 instruction set. ARMv8-A Cortex-A processors add support for a 64-bit data path and the AArch64 execution state while retaining full backward compatibility with ARMv7-A in the AArch32 execution state. This backwards compatibility strengthens the ARM ecosystem and preserves more than a decade worth of ecosystem development.

Cortex-A processors offer support for a range of full Operating Systems including Linux, as well as others requiring a Memory Management Unit such as Android, Chrome and MontaVista.

Cortex-A series processors have been developed to run a number of architecture extensions:

Multicore technology

All ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A based processor cores featured in the current ARM Processor Portfolio support ARM's multicore cache memory architecture:

  • Single to quad-core configurations with full hardware coherence
  • Supports symmetric and asymmetric OS implementations
  • Coherency with external non-cached bus masters via the Accelerator Coherency Port (ACP)
  • Coherency with other CPU clusters through AMBA® 4 ACE (AMBA Coherency Extension) and AMBA 5 CHI (Coherent Hub Interface). This enables big.LITTLE designs as well as large core count systems for network infrastructure and the data center.

Industry standard

The success of the Cortex-A processors is built on the innovation of ARM partners who have licensed these processors and developed a wide array of success stories in various markets. Click here for a detailed list of the public Silicon Partners.



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