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Cortex-R processors target 3G/4G

Posted: 03 Feb 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processors  mobile base band  3G  4G  LTE 

ARM introduces its Cortex-R5 MPCore and Cortex-R7 processors for 3G and 4G mobile base band, mass storage as well as automotive and industrial markets. Based on a single consistent architecture, the R-Series processors determine a roadmap for empowering ARM's customers to future-proof their designs.

ARM says the real-time features of the two new Cortex-R processors are well-suited for advanced mobile base band applications, such as LTE and LTE-Advanced, and includes support for high frequency interrupts along with fast and deterministic control of data transmission between cellular base-stations and mobile devices.

For HDD and SSD mass storage systems the Cortex-R series processors provide a balance between processor performance, reliability and real-time response, along with ease of development and advanced CoreSight debug to support current and future system chip architectures.

For embedded applications requiring high performance combined with high reliability such industrial, automotive and medical, the processors provide a suite of safety-critical features, including both soft and hard error management, redundant dual-core systems using two processors in lock-step, and error correcting codes (ECC) on all external buses.

Both the Cortex-R5 MPCore and Cortex-R7 MPCore processors can be implemented as either single or dual cores. However, the Cortex-R7 MPCore processor features proven SMP multi-core technology, including new real-time enhancements, enabling performance scalability and energy efficiency to be optimised for the intended application.

The binary compatibility of the Cortex-R series processors enables system designers to select the processor and features most appropriate for their current application. It also provides them with the security of a migration path as existing designs develop, while preserving significant software investment. In mobile base band this will enable developers to transition from current ARM processor-based solutions, which power over 90 per cent of current 3G base band products, to the Cortex-R5 processor for LTE, and on to the Cortex-R7 processor for future LTE-Advanced designs.

As performance requirements increase, the scalable roadmap also provides mass storage device developers with a migration path, as they address issues associated with the demand for higher capacity and faster data rates in hard drive controllers.

The Cortex-R processor technology: The Cortex-R5 processor extends the feature set of the Cortex-R4 processor to enable higher levels of system performance, increased efficiency and reliability, and enhanced error management in dependable real-time systems. These system-level features include a high priority low-latency peripheral port (LLPP) for fast peripheral reads and writes, and an Accelerator Coherency Port (ACP) providing cache coherency for increased data transfer efficiency and more reliable firmware.

New technology in the cores includes out-of-order execution, dynamic register renaming combined with improved branch prediction, superscalar execution and faster hardware support for divide, floating point and other functions.

Both processors are available for licensing today and four tier one licensees in the mass storage, automotive and mobile base band markets already have designs underway.

Colin Holland
EE Times

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