Write a brief note to bring out the comparison between Cortex-M3, A8 and R4 architectures.

Mumbai University > Electronics Engineering > Sem 7 > Embedded System Design

Marks: 10 Marks

Year: Dec 2015

1 Answer
  1. Application domain: Cortex A8 is application profiled processors for performance intensive systems. Cortex R4 is a high-performance core for real-time applications and Cortex M3 is a microcontroller core.
  2. Memory protection: Cortex A8 contains a memory management unit with full virtual physical address translation capability. Cortex R4 incorporates a Memory Protection Unit (MPU) which allows memory to be partitioned into secure regions with specific access control attributes. Cortex M3 has a Memory Protection Units which allow the memory map to be partitioned into regions which have configurable access protection attributes
  3. DSP and multimedia support: ARM Cortex A8 is provided with NEON technology which can accelerate multimedia and signal processing algorithms such as video encoder /decoder, 2D/3D graphics, gaming, audio and speech processing, image processing, telephony, and sound synthesis. ARM Cortex M3 does not provide any DSP and multimedia support.
  4. Deterministic Architecture: ARM Cortex R4 is designed for real time applications and hence latency is very critical. Hence is designed to provide guaranteed deterministic interrupt latency. Cortex A8 processors are designed for running general purpose operating systems like Linux and hence deterministic nature is not an important feature. Interrupt latency is also optimized to a great extent in Cortex M3.
  5. Power Management: Cortex M3 is used for low power application and hence they are provided with sleep modes for saving power. Low power modes are not present in Cortex A8 and Cortex R4.
  6. Cached memory/ Tightly coupled memory: Cortex A8 processors are provided with L1 and L2 caches. Cortex R4 processors are provided Tight memory control blocks for quickly accessing external memory peripherals like SRAMs.
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