ARM Introduces Cortex A35 64-bit Low Power Core, ARMv8-M Architecture for Secure MCUs

ARM TechCon 2015 has just started, and there have been a few announcements including the launch of a Cortex-A7 replacement with Cortex A35 providing 10% lower power consumption, 6 to 40% performance boost, and a better design flexibility making it suitable for SoC for smartphones to wearables.

ARM_Cortex_A35

The main specifications of Cortex A35 cores:

  • Architecture ARMv8-A (AArch32 and AArch64 )
  • Multicore 1-4x SMP within a single processor cluster, and multiple coherent SMP processor clusters through AMBA 5 CHI or AMBA 4 ACE technology
  • ISA Support
    • AArch32 for full backward compatibility with ARMv7
    • AArch64 for 64-bit support and new architectural features
    • TrustZone security technology
    • NEON Advanced SIMD
    • DSP & SIMD extensions
    • VFPv4 Floating point
    • Hardware virtualization support
  • Debug & Trace CoreSight DK-A35

The new core can both be used in quad core configuration at 1 GHz for a smartphone (90 mW per core), or in single core configuration at 100 MHz for wearables (6 mW) in a 0.4mm2 silicon footprint.

Cortex A7 vs Cortex A35 Performance
Cortex A7 vs Cortex A35 Performance

Cortex-A35 also consumes about 33 percent less power per core, and occupies 25 percent less silicon area compared to Cortex-A53. Considering quad core Cortex A53 devices ship for less than $50 today, you can expect ultra low cost (and low power) smartphones, wearables, and set-top boxes by the end of 2016. Cortex A35 is also expecting in low-power servers and smart TVs.

Visit ARM Cortex A35 page for more details.

ARM is also addressing IoT security by bringing ARM TrustZone and stack limits to micro-controllers with ARMv8-M architecture.

ARMv6-M vs ARMV7-M vs ARMv8-M
ARMv6-M vs ARMV7-M vs ARMv8-M

Some of the key features of ARMv8-M include (new in bold):

  • 32-bit architecture
  • ARM Thumb-2 technology for excellent code density
  • ‘C’ friendly exception model
  • Protected memory system support for real-time operating system use
  • Real time deterministic interrupt response
  • Adds fast, low overhead hardware based security extensions with ARM TrustZone for ARMv8-M
  • Enhances debug and trace with more flexible breakpoints and watchpoints
  • Improves productivity by making it easier to scale solutions from the smallest to the most performant
  • Makes it easier to protect code with a simpler to program memory protection unit.

There will be two variants with ARMv8-M Baseline and ARMv8-M Mainline, with the latter adding optional DSP and FPU, more instructions, etc…

Charbax is at the conference and did a good job at filming Mike Muller, ARM CTO, keynote, where he unveiled both Cortex A35 and ARMv8-M, beside addressing imprinted circuits, ARM servers (arm.com is now running on those), weak security for IoT applications, CryptoCell 700 series for Cortex A processors, Cryptocell 300 series for ARMv8-M, and mbed OS 3.0. He concludes with the new industry equation: (trust x perf)/(energy x $) to emphasize the importance of security.

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4 Comments
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Marius Cirsta
5 years ago

I think the naming is rather unfortunate as it’s easy to confuse A35 to A53. It’s something you seem to have done while writing this article at least 2 times I think.

RAF
RAF
5 years ago

Since Cortex A7 offered about 83% the performance of a Cortex A9, add 15% to that and you get something like 96% the performance of a Cortex A9, combine this with 10% lower consumption than a Cortex A7, the fact the design is 64 bit, in-order design, consumption that is probably something like 5-10% of a Cortex A57 (while probably offering something like 50% the performance of a Cortex A57, but considering the fact this is a 8 stages pipeline design it will not scale that good) and it looks like a brilliant design. For those who are not impressed… Read more »

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