Cortex-A8 Overview

The Cortex-A8 processor is a high-performance, low-power, cached application processor that provides full virtual memory capabilities. The Cortex-A8 was first introduced in 2005 and was the first processor to support the ARMv7-A architecture.

  • Cortex-A8 Technical Reference Manual

    Combining a programmers model and micro-architectural details, the Cortex-A8 Technical Reference Manual is a key resource for building or programming Cortex-A8 based SoCs.

    Technical Reference Manual
  • 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
  • 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

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.

Cortex-A8 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.