DesignStart Eval provides free and instant access to Arm processor IP and subsystems so you can design a custom SoC, and prototype on an FPGA.

Access the Arm Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3 CPUs today.



The Cortex-M0 processor

The smallest Arm processor available, enabling developers to achieve 32-bit performance at an 8-bit price point.

  • Minimal code footprint of the processor
  • Exceptionally small silicon area
  • Lowest power for the most constrained applications

The Cortex-M3 processor

Industry-leading 32-bit processor for deterministic, real-time applications, specifically developed for high-performance, low-cost platforms.

  • Outstanding computational performance
  • Exceptional system response to events
  • Highly configurable, enabling a wide range of implementations

Cortex-M0 vs. Cortex-M3 - a specification comparison

Not sure which processor is right for you? The Cortex-M0 or the Cortex-M3? See our features and specification comparison below.


Cortex-M0  Cortex-M3 
 Instruction set architecture







DMIPS/MHz range 0.87*-1.27** 1.25*-1.89**
CoreMark/MHz 2.33 3.34
Memory Protection Unit (MPU) No Yes (option) 
Systick Timer Yes (option)  Yes
CMSIS Support Yes Yes
Built-in caches No


*Abides by all of the ‘ground rules’ laid out in the Dhrystone documentation
**Using simultaneous (‘multi-file’) compilation

Dynamic power and area

Cortex-M0 Cortex-M3
(7-track, typical 1.8v, 25°C)
64.3µW/MHz 141µW/MHz
0.109 mm2 0.35 mm2
(7-track, typical 1.2v, 25°C)
12.5µW/MHz 31 µW/MHz
0.030 mm2 0.09 mm2
(9-track, typical 1.1v, 25°C)
5.1µW/MHz 11 µW/MHz
0.007mm2 0.02 mm2

Cortex-M0 example system

Cortex-M0 users have access to CMSDK, which includes: example system, a selection of AMBA AHB and APB infrastructure components and other essential peripherals., plus many other key system IP components.

Cortex-M3 subsystem

Cortex-M3 users have access to the new CoreLink SDK-100 System Design Kit, including the efficient and expandable Corelink SSE-050 Subsystem. The CoreLink System Design Kits help you reduce risk and effort for the implementation of custom SoCs. The kit includes a validated, customizable subsystem, plus many other key system IP components.

Cortex-M Prototyping System

The Cortex-M Prototyping System is an FPGA platform built specifically for the Cortex-M processors - the platform of choice for DesignStart.

The platform supports both the Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3 DesignStart Eval, offering you the possibility to easily prototype your embedded design. It’s an impressive, low-cost, feature-rich, development platform.

Cortex-M0 FPGA system

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Cortex-M3 FPGA system

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  • Hero chip - Cortex-M0
  • Cortex-M0 DesignStart Eval 

    • Design with a fixed-configuration, synthesizable Cortex-M0 RTL
    • Use the Cortex-M0 System Design Kit (CMSDK) and example system to quickly get started
    • Prototype with Cortex-M Prototyping System, including out-of-the-box support
    • Develop software with a 90-day time-limited license of Keil MDK Essential

    Download Cortex-M0 DesignStart Eval
  • Hero chip - Cortex-M3
  • Cortex-M3 DesignStart Eval

    • Design with a fixed-configuration, synthesizable Cortex-M3 RTL
    • Customize your design with your own IP, or use the CoreLink SDK-100 that includes a fully-verified subsystem
    • Prototype with Cortex-M Prototyping System, including out-of-the-box support, or on any FPGA
    • Connect IoT devices with mbed OS
    • Simulate with a 1-year license of Cortex-M3 Cycle Model
    • Develop software with a 90-day time-limited license of Keil MDK Essential

    Download Cortex-M3 DesignStart Eval

Commercialize with DesignStart Pro

Start developing your production chip by upgrading to a free, fast-access license with no upfront fee.

  • Cortex-M0 and Cortex M0 System Design Kit
  • Cortex-M3 and subsystem with CoreLink SDK-100 
  • Range of services and support options available