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ARM architecture v4T

This is an overview of the compilation tools support for ARMv4T. This variant of the ARM architecture supports 16-bit Thumb instructions and the ARM instruction set. The following table shows useful command-line options.

Table 2. Useful command-line options
Command-line optionDescription
--cpu=4TARMv4 with 16-bit Thumb.
--cpu=name

Where name is a specific ARM processor. For example ARM7TDMI.

--apcs=qualifier

Where qualifier denotes one or more qualifiers for interworking and position independence. For example --apcs=/interwork.


Key features

When compiling code for ARMv4T, the compiler supports the 16-bit Thumb instruction set. This provides greater code density, however:

  • Thumb code usually uses more instructions for a given task, making ARM code best for maximizing performance of time-critical code.

  • ARM state and associated ARM instructions are required for exception handling

  • ARM instructions are required for coprocessor accesses including cache configuration (on cached processors) and VFP.

Alignment support

All load and store instructions must specify addresses that are aligned on a natural alignment boundary. For example:

  • LDR and STR addresses must be aligned on a word boundary

  • LDRH and STRH addresses must be aligned on a halfword boundary

  • LDRB and STRB addresses can be aligned to any boundary.

Accesses to addresses that are not on a natural alignment boundary result in unpredictable behavior. To control this you must inform the compiler, using __packed, when you want to access an unaligned address so that it can generate safe code.

Note

Unaligned accesses, where permitted, are treated as rotated aligned accesses.

Endian support

You can produce either little-endian or big-endian code using the compiler command-line options --littleend and --bigend respectively.

ARMv4T supports the following endian modes:

LE

little-endian format

BE-32

legacy big-endian format.

See also

Reference

Using the Compiler:

Compiler Reference:

Assembler Reference:

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