Smallest and Lowest Power Cortex Processors
Optimized for deterministic real-time embedded processing and microcontroller applications
The Arm Cortex-M processor family is a range of scalable, energy efficient and easy-to-use processors that meet the needs of tomorrow’s smart and connected embedded applications. The processors are supported by the world’s #1 embedded ecosystem and have already been shipped in tens of billions of devices. Cortex-M processors help developers deliver more features, in less time, at a lower cost, with versatile connectivity, comprehensive code reuse, standard security and state of the art energy efficiency.
Arm Cortex-M Offers
- Cortex-M0, Cortex M0+, and Cortex-M23 for applications requiring minimal cost, power and area
- Cortex-M3, Cortex-M4, and Cortex-M33 for all applications where a balance between 32-bit performance and energy efficiency is desirable
- Cortex-M7 is designed for embedded applications requiring high performance
The Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 include Arm TrustZone technology for solutions that require optimized, efficient security.
The Arm Cortex-M4, Cortex-M7 and Cortex-M33 processors integrate Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and floating point operations for fast and power-efficient algorithm processing of digital signal control applications such as sensor fusion, motor control and power management.
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Arm DesignStart provides the fastest, simplest, no-risk route to custom silicon success. Create custom SoCs with the Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3 processors, with no upfront license fee, just a success-based royalty model. Access Arm’s comprehensive solution of industry-proven Cortex-M processors, subsystems, system IP and Artisan physical IP for the ideal compute platform.
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The Arm Cortex-M processors utilize Arm Thumb-2 technology to offer superior code density compared to 8-bit,16-bit and fixed 32-bit architectures, reducing the memory requirements to maximize the usage of precious on-chip Flash memory. Thumb-2 technology supports a fundamental base of 16-bit Thumb instructions, extended to include more powerful 32-bit instructions. In many cases, a C compiler will use the 16-bit version of the instruction unless the operation can be carried out more efficiently using a 32-bit version.
Arm Cortex-M processors provide:
- High performance and efficiency
- Easy software development, as all Cortex-M processors are fully C programmable
- Compact data footprint, with support for 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit data transfers
- Fast and power-efficient algorithm processing with DSP extensions in Cortex-M4, Cortex-M7 and Cortex-M33
The Armv8-M based Cortex-M processors also include TrustZone technology. TrustZone has been proven as a security foundation in billions of devices. TrustZone for the Cortex-M profile has been optimized for microcontroller class devices offering deterministic real-time interrupt response, low power and a small area with fast cross-domain calls.
Processors of choice
Arm Cortex-M processors are the most popular choice for embedded applications, licensed to over 350 Arm partners and supported by the world’s #1 embedded ecosystem with the widest third-party tools, RTOS and middleware support of any architecture. Using a standard processor within a design allows Arm partners to create devices with a consistent base, enabling them to focus on creating superior device implementations.
Cortex-M System Design Kit
To enable faster design cycles and time to market, Arm has created the Cortex-M System Design Kit (CMSDK), a comprehensive solution designed to work with Cortex-M processors out-of-the-box. It includes:
- A selection of Arm AMBA AHB and APB infrastructure components
- Essential peripherals such as GPIO, timers, watchdog, and UART
- Example systems for Cortex-M0, Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors
- Compilation and simulation scripts for the Verilog environment
- Software drivers and example programs
- A comprehensive solution for embedded designs
A growing number of fabless semiconductor companies are designing silicon around Arm Cortex-M processors for the first time, bringing the benefits of an efficient, easy-to-use, standard architecture to their end customers. With CMSDK and a Cortex-M processor, you can integrate a processing subsystem in to your product quickly, effectively and with minimum risk.
The Cortex-M family is optimized for cost and power-sensitive MCU and mixed-signal SoCs for applications including:
- Sensor fusion
- Connected clothing
- Medical instruments
- Smart lighting
- Smart cities
- Energy grid