The Cortex-A8 processor is a high-performance and low-power 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. Since its introduction, the Cortex-A8 processor has been superseded by the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A17 processors, but it represents a turning point upwards in the race for efficient high-performance 32-bit compute, and it is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.


Architecture Armv7
Multicore Single core only
ISA Support
Memory Management Unit (MMU)
Armv7 Memory Management Unit (MMU)
Debug & Trace

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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)


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.


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

Mali-400 GPU

Mali Display Processors

Mali V500 Video Processor

CoreLink Network Interconnect Family

CoreLink System Controllers

Interrupt Controllers

CoreSight SoC-400


DS-5 Development Studio

Fixed Virtual Platforms

Development Boards

Arm Compiler

Fast Models



Arm training courses and 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.

Arm training courses Arm Design Reviews

  • Cortex-A8 Technical Reference Manual

    For system designers and software engineers, the Cortex-A8 manual provides information on implementing and programming Cortex-A8 based devices.

    Read here
  • 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

  • Arm Design Reviews

    Arm's 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.

    Learn more
  • 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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