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ARM Cortex-A32 Processor Designed Specifically for Wearables, IoT, Embedded Apps and Low-cost Boards

ARM has now announced Cortex-A32 processor.  ARM Cortex-A32 processor is the smallest, lowest-power ARMv8-A application processor designed to bring efficiency and architectural improvements to next generation 32-bit rich embedded applications. The Cortex-A32 is the latest addition to the ultra high efficiency application processor family from ARM and brings the benefits of the ARMv8-A instruction set to a 32-bit processor. The Cortex-A32 will drive innovation across diverse embedded markets including wearables, consumer, industrial, and IoT.

ARM Cortex-A32

Cortex-A32 Processor Key Features:

  • Architecture – ARMv8-A (AArch32)
  • Multicore – 1-4x SMP within a single processor cluster, and multiple coherent SMP processor clusters through ARM AMBA® 4 ACE, AXI 4 or AMBA 5 CHI technology
  • ISA Support:
    • A32+T32 with full backward compatibility with ARMv7-A
    • ARM TrustZone®security technology
    • ARM NEON™Advanced SIMD
    • DSP & SIMD extensions
    • VFPv4 Floating point
    • Hardware virtualization support
  • Debug & Trace – ARM CoreSight™ DK-A32

Compared to Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A7 processors, it delivers performance improvements across key embedded workloads. Cortex-A32 delivers 25% more efficiency (performance per mW) than the Cortex-A7 processor in the same process node using a combination of performance improvement and power reduction. The Cortex-A32 processor is designed to be extremely configurable and scalable thereby making it very attractive for extremely diverse rich embedded applications that have vastly different performance, power and area requirements. The Cortex-A32 processor can be configured from an ultra low power, very small, single core up to a single four core cluster with a shared L2 cache. The smallest configuration of the Cortex-A32 processor using 8K L1 caches occupies less than 0.25 mm2 and consumes less than 4mW at 100MHz in 28nm.

Cortex-A32

The Cortex-A32 processor delivers more performance than its predecessors and with greater power efficiency. The graph below depicts the relative performance delivered by the Cortex-A32 processor compared to the Cortex-A5 for certain key benchmarks (using the Cortex-A5 processor’s performance as the reference)

Cortex-A32 performance

To highlight some key micro architectural improvements in Cortex-32 compared to Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A5 processors:

  • Redesigned instruction fetch unit for maximizing efficiency
  • High performance L1 and L2 memory subsystems resulting in up to 3.75x improvement in memory streaming performance
  • Area efficient ARM NEONTM and floating point pipelines with performance improvements for floating point and DSP operations
  • Logic to support new power management features

Source: ARM