Arm Architecture: A Foundation for Computing Everywhere

Architecture Layer Diagram

The Arm architecture is a family of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures for computer processors. It is the most pervasive processor architecture in the world, with billions of Arm-based devices shipped every year, from sensors, wearables and smartphones to supercomputers. Benefits of the Arm CPU architecture include:

  • Integrated security
  • High performance and energy efficiency
  • Large ecosystem for global support
  • Pervasive across markets and locations

Technical Details and Architecture Specifications

Latest Versions of the Arm Architecture

Arm is constantly working with lead partners to evolve its architecture to meet future needs. Armv9-A is a set of extensions to the Armv8-A architecture, and part of a rolling program of substantial enhancements to the architecture to be deployed over the next few years. The goal of these enhancements is to help increase the computing capability in areas such as digital signal processing (DSP) and machine learning (ML), and to continually improve the security and robustness of our systems.


The latest architectures for the R-profile and M-profile are Armv8-R and Armv8-M. Follow the Learn More links below to our developer site for more technical details and the latest architecture specifications.


Armv9-A Key Features
Learn More


Armv8-R Key Features
  • AArch32 and AArch64: AArch32 provides backwards compatibility with existing 32-bit software while AArch64 brings 64-bit execution capability and up to 48-bit physical addressing to the Arm real-time processor architecture.
  • Protected Memory System Architecture (PMSA): Enables deterministic behaviour for timing-sensitive applications.
  • Virtualization: Hardware support for virtualization, optimized for timing-sensitive workloads.


Armv8.1-M Key Features
  • M-profile Vector Extension (MVE): An efficient vector processing capability that accelerates signal processing and machine learning algorithms.
  • Additional data types supported in vector extension: Half-precision floating point (FP16) and 8-bit integer (INT8).
  • Low overhead loops.
  • Gather load, scatter store memory access.
  • Additional debug features: including a performance monitoring unit, tailoring for DSP software development, and a debug extension to support multiple security domains in debug.

A Flexible and Scalable Approach

Although Arm offers its own implementation of the Arm architecture with the Cortex and Neoverse range of processor IP, many companies within the global ecosystem develop their own implementations.


There are three architecture profiles:

A-profile (Application)
Arm Processor IP range: Cortex-A and Neoverse
R-profile (Real-Time)
Arm Processor IP range: Cortex-R
M-profile (Microcontroller)
Arm Processor IP range: Cortex-M
  • Offers highest performance of all architecture profiles
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Optimized to run rich operating systems
  • Optimized for systems with real-time requirements
  • Designed for small, low power, highly energy-efficient devices
Latest Versions Armv8 and Armv9 Armv8 Armv8
Use Cases PCs, laptops, smart TVs, servers, smartphones and automotive head units, cloud storage and supercomputers Medical equipment, vehicle steering, braking and signalling, networking and storage equipment and embedded control systems Security processors, IoT and embedded devices such as wearables, small sensors, communication modules and smart home products


Each profile means the architecture can be optimized for different environments and use cases. System on chips (SoCs) are often designed to power a specific class of product and include multiple processors that implement different architecture profiles to meet a product’s energy, performance and security needs.

Technical Details and Architecture Specifications

For more technical information and the Arm architecture specifications, visit our website:



Discover Learn the architecture – our library of introductory technical guides to help you learn more about the Arm architecture

Other Arm Architectures

Related Products and Services

Explore More Options and Features


Silicon IP: CPU

Arm CPU processors offer the widest range of processor cores to address the performance, power and cost requirements for almost all application markets. Including the industry leading Cortex-A series, the ultra-low power Cortex-M series, real-time Cortex-R series, server ready Neoverse series, SecurCore series and Machine Learning solutions.

Mali Graphics & Multimedia Processors

Silicon IP: Graphics and Multimedia 

Arm Mali media IP offer high-performing, energy-efficient media processing across a large and growing number of mobile and consumer devices, including smartphones, tablets, TVs and wearables.