The Cortex-M3 processor is specifically developed for high-performance, low-cost platforms for a broad range of devices including microcontrollers, automotive body systems, industrial control systems and wireless networking and sensors.

Block Diagram on Cortex-M3.
Architecture Armv7-M
Bus Interface 3x AMBA AHB-Lite interface (Harvard bus architecture)
AMBA ATB interface for CoreSight debug components
ISA Support Thumb/Thumb-2 subset
Pipeline Three-stage
Memory Protection
Optional 8 region MPU with sub regions and background region
Bit Manipulation Integrated Bit-field Processing Instructions and Bus Level Bit Banding
Interrupts Non-maskable Interrupt (NMI) + 1 to 240 physical interrupts
Interrupt Priority Levels 8 to 256 priority levels
Wake-up Interrupt Controller
Enhanced Instructions Hardware Divide (2-12 Cycles), Single-Cycle (32x32) Multiply, Saturated Adjustment Support
Sleep Modes
Integrated WFI and WFE Instructions and Sleep On Exit capability.
Sleep and Deep Sleep Signals
Optional Retention Mode with Arm Power Management Kit
Optional JTAG and Serial Wire Debug ports. Up to 8 Breakpoints and 4 Watchpoints
Trace Optional Instruction (ETM), Data Trace (DWT), and Instrumentation Trace (ITM)
Reference package or system example

Start designing with Cortex-M3

Cortex-M3 is available to access for $0 upfront for prototyping and commercializing a custom SoC with Arm DesignStart. Alternatively, if you would like to design with Cortex-M3 and additional Arm IP, Arm Flexible Access delivers unlimited design access to a wide range of IP products, support, tools and training – with payment due only at the point of manufacture.

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Performance Efficiency: 3.34 CoreMark/MHz* and 1.25 /1.50 /1.89 DMIPS/MHz**

Arm Cortex-M3 Implementation Data***
(7-track, typical 1.8v, 25°C)
(7-track, typical 1.2v, 25°C)
(9-track, typical 1.1v, 25°C)
Dynamic power 141 µW/MHz
31 µW/MHz
11 µW/MHz
Floor planned area
0.35 mm2
0.09 mm2
0.02 mm2

* See: EEMBC Benchmark Score Viewer

** The first result abides by all of the “ground rules” laid out in the Dhrystone documentation, the second permits inlining of functions, not just the permitted C string libraries, while the third additionally permits simultaneous (”multi-file”) compilation. All are with the original (K&R) v2.1 of Dhryston.

*** Minimum configuration with full ISA support and Interrupt Controller, includes 1 IRQ + NMI, excludes ETM, MPU and debug.