ARM Cortex-M4 Processor for Digital Signal Control

ARM introduced the Cortex-M4 processor for digital signal control (DSC) applications. The Cortex-M4 processor features a single-cycle multiply-accumulate (MAC) unit, optimized single instruction multiple data (SIMD) instructions, saturating arithmetic instructions, and an optional single precision Floating-Point Unit (FPU). The Cortex-M4 processor has been licensed by five leading MCU semiconductor companies including NXP, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

The Cortex-M4 processor features a 32-bit core capable of 1.25DMIPS/MHz for high performance, Thumb-2 instructions for optimum code density and a Nested Vector Interrupt Controller for outstanding interrupt handling. In addition, the processor features an optional Memory Protection Unit (MPU), low cost debug/trace and integrated sleep states for increased flexibility. Embedded developers will be able to rapidly design and deliver compelling end-products with maximum functionality and the absolute minimum power and area footprint.

The Cortex-M4 processor is supported by the ARM physical IP portfolio, offering the widest foundry and technology support for physical implementations. This includes the Cortex-M Low Power Optimization Package for the TSMC CE018FG (180nm ULL) process for Partners targeting ultra low-power implementations.

ARM also provides physical IP solutions on foundry processes. For a target frequency of 150MHz for next generation MCU devices, ARM physical IP for the 65nm GLOBALFOUNDRIES 65LPe process enables a standard implementation of the Cortex-M4 processor within just 65K gates and a dynamic power consumption of less than 40µW/MHz. The FPU, if included, adds only 25K gates and enables an extremely powerful implementation within an industry leading area footprint.

Development tool support for the Cortex-M4 processor is provided by the Keil MDK-ARM (Microcontroller Development Kit), which includes the ARM compiler extended for SIMD and FPU. MDK-ARM also contains µVision4 with complete Cortex-M4 processor instruction simulation as well as target debugging with advanced trace capabilities. In addition, the processor is supported with development tools, debuggers and RTOS from members of the ARM Connected Community.

The Cortex-M4 processor is fully supported by the Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS), which is the vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for the Cortex-M processor series that enables consistent and simple software interfaces to the processor for peripherals and real-time operating systems.

ARM is currently expanding the CMSIS to include C Compiler support for Cortex-M4 processor extended instructions and is developing an optimized library designed to make signal processing programs easier to develop for MCU users. This library will include digital filter algorithms and general functions such as maths, trigonometric, and control functions. The digital filter algorithms are also intended for use with filter design utilities and design toolkits such as MATLAB and LabVIEW.

More information: ARM