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ARM Cortex-A72 MPCore Processor Technical Reference Manual : Design flow

Design flow

The Cortex-A72 processor is delivered as synthesizable RTL. Before the processor can be used in a product, it must go through the following process:

The implementer configures and synthesizes the RTL to produce a hard macrocell. This might include integrating the cache RAMs into the design.
The integrator connects the configured design into a SoC. This includes connecting it to a memory system and peripherals.

This is the last process. The system programmer develops the:

  • Software to configure the Cortex-A72 processor.
  • Software to initialize the Cortex-A72 processor.
  • Application software and the SoC tests.

Each process:

  • Can be performed by a different party.
  • Can include implementation and integration choices that affect the behavior and features of the processor.

The operation of the final device depends on:

Build configuration

The implementer chooses the options that affect how the RTL source files are preprocessed. These options usually include or exclude logic that can affect one or more of the area, maximum frequency, and features of the resulting macrocell.

Configuration inputs
The integrator configures some features of the processor by tying inputs to specific values. These configurations affect the start-up behavior before any software configuration is made. They can also limit the options available to the software.
Software configuration
The programmer configures the processor by programming particular values into registers. This affects the behavior of the processor.


This manual refers to IMPLEMENTATION DEFINED features that apply to build configuration options. Reference to a feature that is included means that the appropriate build and signal configuration options have been selected. Reference to an enabled feature means that the feature has also been configured by software.

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