Cortex-A8

The Cortex-A8 processor is a high-performance and low-power application processor that provides full virtual memory capabilities.

Overview

The Cortex-A8 was first introduced in 2005 and was the first processor to support the ARMv7-A architecture. Since its introduction, the Cortex-A8 processor has been superseded by the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A17 processors, but it represents a turning point upwards in the race for efficient high-performance 32-bit compute, and it is still widely deployed in many embedded applications.


Key benefits

  • Large increase in single thread performance over its predecessor, the ARM11.

  • ARMv7-A support including NEON and TrustZone

  • Widely deployed in mobile and embedded, with numerous low-cost 3rd party development platforms. A great processor on which to learn the ARM architecture.


Highlights

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Applications

The Cortex-A8 was designed to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding smartphone market with unprecedented mobile performance. It is currently shipped in a wide range of embedded products.

Low-cost consumer devices

Home networking appliances

Embedded computing

 

Storage networking (HDD, SDD)

Printers


Key features

In-order pipeline

Superscalar 13+ stage pipeline.


First ARMv7-A processor

Support for Thumb-2, TrustZone, Jazelle-RCT and NEON technology.


Integrated and configurable L2 Cache Controller

Provides low-latency access to up to 1MB of cached memory.


Characteristics

The Cortex-A8 processor was the first to use the ARMv7-A architecture. ARMv7 incorporated three key elements: the NEON™ single instruction multiple data (SIMD) unit, ARM TrustZone® security extensions, and the Thumb-2 instruction set for reduced code size via a mix of 16-bit and 32-bit extensions. The Cortex-A8 implements the extended ISA in the first ever fully superscalar design from ARM. It has a full dual-issue pipeline, meaning the Cortex-A8 can simultaneously issue any two instructions that occur sequentially in the instructions stream whose arguments do not have unresolved dependencies.

The processor has a number of features which make it ideal for use in high-performance end products. A symmetric, superscalar pipeline allows for full dual-issue capability and high-frequency configurations. There is an advanced branch prediction unit with over 95% accuracy, and an integrated L2 cache provides optimal performance in demanding systems. The Cortex-A8 supports NEON technology, allowing it to take advantage of accelerated multimedia and DSP processing.

The ARM Cortex-A8 processor has the ability to scale in speed from 600MHz to greater than 1GHz, meeting the requirements for power-optimized mobile devices needing operation in less than 300mW and performance-optimized consumer applications.


Related IP

The Cortex-A8 processor can be incorporated into an SoC using a broad range of ARM technology including Graphics IP, System IP, and Physical IP. The Cortex-A8 processor is fully supported by ARM development tools. Related IP includes:

 

Graphic IP
Other IP
Tools

ARM Mali™-400 (GPU)

Mali-DP500 (Display processor)

Mali-V500 (Video Processor)

ARM CoreLink™ NIC-400 and NIC-450 (Network Interconnect)

CoreLink GIC-400 (Interupt Controller)

CoreLink TZC-400 (ARM TrustZone® Controller)

CoreLink DMC-400 (Dynamic Memory Controller)

ARM CoreSight™ SoC-400 (Debug and Trace)

ARM POP™ (Physical IP)

ARM DS-5 Development Studio

Fixed Virtual Platforms

ARM Versatile™ Express

ARM Compiler 6

ARM Fast Models

Support

ARM training courses and Active Assist on-site system-design advisory services enable licensees to efficiently integrate the Cortex-A8 processor into their design to realize maximum system performance with lowest risk and fastest time-to-market.

  • Cortex-A8 Technical Reference Manual

    For system designers and software engineers, the Cortex-A9 manual provides information on implementing and programming Cortex-A9 based devices.

    Technical Reference Manual
  • Cortex-A Series Programmer's Guide for ARMv7-A

    Common to all Cortex-A series processors, this programmer's guide is useful for assembly and C language application development for ARMv7-A.

    Get the Guide
  • Development Tools for Cortex-A

    ARM and our partners provide specialist code generation, debug and analysis tools for software development on Cortex-A series processors, such as DS-5 Development Studio.

    Development Tools

  • Design support with Active Assist

    Active Assist on-site design review service gives licensees confidence that their Cortex-A8 CPU is implemented efficiently, to provide maximum system performance, with lowest risk and fastest time-to-market.

    Explore design services
  • Questions? Request more information

    Learn more about Cortex-A8, ARM's performance and power optimized multi-core processor and one of the most widely deployed applications processors designed by ARM. Contact us to speak with our technical team.

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