ARM Discloses Technical Details and Partner Support For ARMv7 Architecture

07 March 2005

CAMBRIDGE, UK – Mar. 7, 2005– ARM, [(LSE:ARM);(Nasdaq:ARMHY)], today disclosed technical details of its new ARMv7 architecture, at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco, Calif.  The new  defines three distinct processor profiles: the A profile for sophisticated, virtual memory-based OS and user applications; the R profile for real-time systems; and the M profile optimized for microcontroller and low-cost applications. New processors compliant with the ARMv7 architecture will enable systems designers to intelligently match the CPU to their chosen application target, optimizing performance, power consumption, code size, and silicon cost.

ARM is working with key members of the ARM® Connected Community to ensure broad support for the . This program embraces operating systems, third-party tools and EDA vendors, including Cadence, Green Hills, IAR, Lauterbach, MontaVista, Synopsys and Wind River.

The new ARM Cortex™ processor family is ARMv7 architecture-compliant and extends the range of size and performance points from less than 33k gates for the ARM Cortex-M series, to high performance cores for the ARM Cortex-A series. The ARMv7 architecture ensures compatibility with earlier generations of ARM processors preserving software investments and providing a migration path for existing system designs.

“The market for microprocessors continues to diversify, based on the evolving demands of applications including wireless, home entertainment, automotive and microcontrollers,” said Max Baron, principal analyst, Microprocessor Report, In-Stat. “ARM core families sharing the ARMv7 architecture will cover the widening spectrum of embedded processing. ARM should no longer just be considered a vendor of the cell phone core. Using the ARMv7 architecture, ARM can strengthen its position as a low-power/performance leader while conquering new markets to carry its cores up in high performance and down in the low-cost high-volume domain of the microcontroller. With OptimoDE™, Cortex, and NEON™ technologies, and the recent acquisitions of Artisan and Axys, ARM has mapped for itself an aggressive route on its way to success.”

“ARM has always collaborated closely with our Partners in the evolution and advancement of the ARM architecture.   Our industry-leading Partners requested that we take application-specific market needs into account in the ARMv7 architecture and that is exactly what we have done,” said Mike Muller, CTO, ARM.  “This strategy is now receiving widespread endorsement and we have taken care to ensure that it is compatible with 20 years of ARM innovation.”

ARM development tool support for ARMv7 architecture-based processors will be provided in ARM RealView® tools. “RealView tools will enable designers to model, create virtual prototypes, compile software, debug, validate and test ARMv7 architecture-compliant systems,” said Bryn Parry, general manager, Development Systems, ARM. “Software and systems developers depend on the early availability of integrated tools supporting the latest architectural features in order to create leading-edge systems products.”

The new ARMv7 architecture builds upon the success of the ARMv6 architecture, implemented in the award winning ARM11™ processor family. All ARMv7 architecture profiles implement Thumb®-2 technology which is built on the foundation of the ARM industry-leading Thumb code compression technology, while retaining complete code compatibility with existing ARM solutions. Thumb-2 technology uses 31 percent less memory than pure 32-bit code to reduce system cost, while at the same time delivering up to 38 percent better performance than existing Thumb technology-based solutions.The ARMv7 architecture also includes the NEON technology extensions to increase DSP and media processing throughput by up to 400 percent, and offers improved floating-point support to address the needs of next- generation 3D graphics and games physics, as well as traditional embedded control applications. The ARMv7 architecture also features improved execution environment support to match the increasing use of JIT and DAC technology.

The new ARM Cortex processor family is aligned with the ARMv7 architecture profiles and will include processors for complex OS, real-time, and microcontroller applications. The ARM Cortex-A series is designed for demanding consumer entertainment and wireless products running operating systems such as Linux, Windows CE operating system, and Symbian OS. The ARM Cortex-R series addresses the needs of systems running real-time operating systems for control applications including automotive, networking, and imaging. The ARM Cortex-M series is designed to meet the increasing performance requirements of extremely cost-sensitive embedded applications such as microcontrollers, automotive body systems, and white goods. The first member of the ARM Cortex-M series, the ARM Cortex-M3 processor, was announced at the ARM Developers’ Conference in October 2004.

The ARMv7 architecture is designed to ensure software compatibility with earlier generations of ARM processors. The ARM Cortex-M series supports Thumb-2 instructions, a superset of the existing Thumb instructions, and will execute existing Thumb code written for earlier processors. User code written for the ARM Cortex-M series processors can be 100 percent compatible with ARM Cortex-R series microprocessors providing a forward migration path. ARM Cortex-M series system code, such as real time operating systems, can be easily ported to ARM Cortex-R series-based systems. The ARM Cortex-A and -R series processors additionally support the ARM 32-bit instruction set for full backwards compatibility with earlier ARM processors ranging from the ARM7TDMI® processor introduced in 1995, up to the latest ARM11 processor family.

The ARMv7 Architecture Specifications
A set of specifications describing all aspects of the ARMv7A architecture and ARMv7R architecture are available now to customers under NDA. Details of the ARMv7M architecture can be shared under NDA too. 

The ARM Cortex Family Availability
In addition to the ARM Cortex-M3 product previously announced, a number of ARM Cortex microprocessors that implement the ARMv7 architecture will be available during Q4 2005 and Q1 2006. Further product specific announcements that outline specific implementation aspects of the designs will be made closer to that time

Note to Editors:

Please note the following endorsements of the ARMv7 architecture which support this press release:

Accelerated Technology
“Accelerated Technology, a division of Mentor Graphics, is a long established partner of ARM, powering millions of ARM technology-based devices with its Nucleus RTOS. The Nucleus RTOS, with its available µITRON and OSEK APIs, and the Nucleus EDGE development environment are tightly integrated with the ARM RealView compiler,” said Robert Day, director of marketing, Accelerated Technology.

“This integration makes it easy for us to track the latest trends in the ARM architecture, providing early adopters access to the rich Nucleus OS and middleware offerings along with our reputation for quality and reliability. With the ARMv7 architecture building on ARMv6 architecture, and the new features it introduced, we are expecting to help our customers build their next generation of products, exploiting the benefits of the latest Nucleus and ARM technologies.”

“To address the challenges of today’s nanometer design, Cadence is working with leaders in the silicon design chain to provide optimized solutions that help accelerate time-to-volume,” said Jan Willis, senior vice president, Industry Alliances at Cadence.  “Our ongoing collaboration with ARM has helped to validate the processes and flows necessary for first-time silicon success at advanced technology nodes. We look forward to supporting ARM’s newest architecture with solutions that can provide our mutual customers with success in the electronics marketplace.”

Express Logic
“Express Logic is pleased to bring our ThreadX® real-time operating system (RTOS) to the ARMv7 architecture,” commented William E. Lamie, president of Express Logic. “ThreadX will assist developers in using the ARMv7 architecture in its deeply embedded and cost sensitive profiles to bring products to market quickly and successfully. Our NetX™, FileX™, and USBX™ middleware also will support ARMv7 architecture-based applications in the consumer electronics and networking areas.”

Green Hills
“The Thumb-2 extensions are designed to provide the performance of an ARM processor with the code compression of the Thumb instruction set,” said Greg Davis, engineering manager, Compiler Development, Green Hills. “Green Hills Software’s highly optimizing compiler technology unleashes the potential of these extensions, and we're excited to provide this world-class support through our MULTI Integrated Development Environment.”

“During the last five years IAR Systems has been successful in supporting the ARM market, positioning its IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM at the top with market leading code density, speed performance and tool features. IAR Embedded Workbench supports all ARM architectures starting with ARMv4, ARMv5 and the latest ARMv6 architecture based products. Continuing on this successful route IAR Systems will follow with ARMv7 product offerings matching silicon availability,” said Anders Lundgren, product development manager, IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM, IAR Systems. “With its large base of customers using 8- and 16-bit devices, IAR Systems is committed to serving these customers when they migrate to the 32-bit arena. We see the ARMv7 architecture as an ideal platform for building systems ranging from traditional 8- and 16-bit systems to more performance demanding systems; the simplicity of the ARMv7 32-bit M-profile will appeal to customers that have so far stayed clear of the more complex 32-bit architectures.”

“As a leading supplier of debug solutions for the ARM architecture, Lauterbach is committed to continuing its long association with ARM through debug support of the latest features in the ARMv7 architecture,” says Norbert Weiss, Sales & Marketing Manager at Lauterbach.

Mentor Graphics
"Mentor Graphics has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with ARM, providing Seamless co-verification solutions that help our mutual customers validate their ARMv7-based systems more efficiently. This relationship has allowed us to help scores of design teams overcome complex hardware/software integration challenges in order to create the world's most advanced electronic devices," said Serge Leef, general manager of the Mentor Graphics SoC Verification Division.

“The new ARMv7 architecture with Windows CE will deliver a proven development environment that helps speed time to market and enables the creation of a wide range of mobile and embedded devices for increasingly diverse markets,” said Jane Gilson, director for the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft and ARM will work to ensure our respective technologies are optimized to bring new opportunities for creating innovative devices for our joint customers.”

Monta Vista
“MontaVista Software continues to build success and Linux momentum with ARM architectures,” said Kevin Morgan, vice president, Engineering, MontaVista Software. “We look forward to working with ARM to fully optimize MontaVista Linux for the new features of the ARMv7 architecture.  MontaVista Linux integrated with the ARMv7 architecture provides a flexible solution that enables differentiation for customers building high-end consumer electronics and next-generation mobile handsets.”

“The close level of technical collaboration between ARM and Symbian on the ARMv7 architecture was a logical extension to our work on previous processor architectures,” said Jorgen Behrens, VP Strategy, Symbian. “The demand for increased performance and functionality in increasingly high volume feature rich Symbian OS phones is growing to meet the fast growing market for 3D gaming and other native graphics and multimedia applications. The low-power consumption characteristics of the ARMv7 architecture will enable handset manufacturers to meet that demand.”

“Synopsys has enjoyed a long-standing close collaboration with ARM in its innovation from synthesizable ARM processors to our recently announced ARM-Synopsys Reference Methodology for ARM's Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology,” said Dr. Antun Domic, senior vice president and general manager, Implementation Group at Synopsys, Inc. “We are working closely with ARM to enable rapid and easy adoption of leading-edge new technologies, like IEM and the new ARMv7 architecture in the ARM Cortex-A series processors using the Galaxy™ Design Platform for design implementation and chip-level integration.”

“Wind River and ARM have a longstanding relationship, fostering openness through multi-OS support so that our mutual customers can increase productivity, get to market faster and create more innovative devices,” said John Bruggeman, chief marketing officer for Wind River. “Wind River welcomes the ongoing innovation demonstrated by ARM’s latest version of its architecture and we look forward to working together to bring an even wider variety of high quality development options to device software manufacturers.”

About ARM
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.


ARM, ARM7TDMI, RealView and Thumb are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. ARM11, NEON, OptimoDE and Cortex are trademarks of ARM Limited.  All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. “ARM”' is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Belgium N.V.; AXYS Design Automation Inc.; AXYS GmbH; ARM Embedded Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; and ARM Physical IP, Inc.


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