Arium Rolls Out Real-Time Performance Analysis for ARM9 Cores

1/16/2004 - American Arium, an industry leader in hardware-assisted software development tools, now incorporates real-time performance analysis functionality for ARM9TM cores. The feature is available in SourcePointTM, the company’s flagship debugger. Unlike most development tools that rely on a compiler to generate statistical data for analysis, SourcePoint uses the ARM® Embedded Trace Macrocell (ETM) to gather real-time performance data.

The advantages to using SourcePoint Performance Analysis include:

The Real-Time Performance Analysis feature works by taking advantage of the tracing capabilities of the ETM. SourcePoint, when used in conjunction with the Arium SC-1000A emulator, offers a better way to gather and analyze user-generated code via the ARM ETM. The ETM has up to 16 address comparators that can be programmed with function entry and exit points. Trace qualification can then be used to record only those addresses in the trace buffer. This results in approximately 140,000 real-time entry and exit points in a 1MB trace buffer (each address generating a 5 byte broadcast address consuming 7 cycles).

Each entry and exit point has a time-stamp (down to 10 ns resolution), allowing SourcePoint to determine the execution time for a range of code without recording all of the intervening instructions. Recording just entry and exit points makes this form of performance analysis particularly effective. A single trace capture can contain thousands of instances of each address range, all recorded in real time.

Arium has developed a GUI with a series of tabs to help users set up the process and view the results. Using the “Ranges” tab, users may choose to key in function names and addresses or list them as symbols. More likely, however, developers will select a portion of the code in the SourcePoint Code window and click on “Add Performance Analysis Range(s)” from the Code window context menu. Doing so causes SourcePoint to drop the selected code into the "Ranges" grid, calling out the functions and their addresses automatically.

The "Statistics" tab displays the results of the analysis in numeric form. If the developer has set the trace buffer to fill more than once, he or she can enable the “Accumulate results” option to see the results of multiple passes. Results are given for individual ranges and the total run.

The "Histogram" tab provides data results in graphic form for easy identification of problem areas. In addition to displaying a visual view of the results, users can see the percentage of time each range took to execute. Also shown is the total amount of time spent within the ranges and out of them. If “Normalize Results” has been enabled, the percentages shown in the second and third columns are relative to the ranges being measured; the results of all ranges in a column add up to 100 percent. If “Normalize results” has not been selected, the percentage of each range is relative to total execution time.

Arium has made performance analysis easy by automating address range input wherever possible and making the process intuitive and user friendly. Results assist developers in seeing clearly where excessive time has been spent within a function or range, thus helping them locate the source of an error. Performance analysis is also useful in profiling functions and determining code coverage.

American Arium designs and manufactures emulators, reference boards, and related development tools for the ARM® and Intel markets. Arium tools are used worldwide to debug software such as embedded applications, BIOS, device drivers, and OS kernels. American Arium is headquartered in California and sells its products directly and through a network of distributors worldwide.

About American Arium
American Arium designs and manufactures emulators, reference boards, and related development tools for the ARM and Intel markets. Arium tools are used worldwide to debug software such as embedded applications, BIOS, device drivers, and OS kernels. American Arium is headquartered in California and sells its products directly and through a network of distributors worldwide.

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