We are delighted to announce that the ARM Cortex-M7 processor has been selected by the Linley Group as the “Best Processor IP” for 2014.
Each year The Linley Group (one of the leading semiconductor analysts) presents its “Analysts’ Choice Awards”, recognising the top semiconductor offerings of the year. Winners are selected on the basis of performance, power efficiency, features, and cost for their target applications.
The Best Processor IP award is based on superiority in performance and power efficiency as well as die area for the intended application, and the ARM Cortex-M7 was recognised as “excelling in each of these measures for high-end microcontrollers”.
The Linley Group noted that the “ARM Cortex-M7’s dual-issue superscalar architecture extends ARM’s digital-signal-controller (DSC) concept, boosting compute efficiency by 47% over Cortex-M4. It adds a second integer execution unit with 32-bit SIMD capability, parallel execution of load/stores and MACs, and a double-precision FPU, which all help double DSP performance on some benchmarks. In ST’s 90nm design, the M7 achieves 1,000 CoreMarks on the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) test, beating its M4-powered predecessor by 64%”.
And as The Linley Group note: the Cortex-M7 “achieves the same performance per milliwatt [as the Cortex-M4] while delivering much greater overall performance”.
The Cortex-M7 was announced in September 2014 and expands ARM’s Cortex-M product series, addressing smart and connected embedded applications. The Cortex-M7 enables applications requiring higher levels of general-purpose processing, DSP and floating point performance than achievable with existing microcontroller cores, and all within a highly efficient power envelope. Cortex-M7 also has a variety of powerful system interfaces, including a 64-bit AXI AMBA4 memory bus for access to sophisticated peripherals and external memories, as well as tightly-coupled memory interfaces for efficient, real-time access to critical code and data. The processor can also support up to 64kB of separate instruction and data caches for further improved performance.
Applications include Internet of Things (where data can be pre-processed and/or compressed prior to transmission), voice and image processing applications, advanced audio processing, advanced touch screen products, and advanced motor control applications.
Those familiar with the Cortex-M7 won’t be surprised to know that the Linley Group’s award isn’t the only time that the Cortex-M7 has been recognised: the Cortex-M7 won the NMI’s Low Power Design Innovation award, and STMicroelectronics' STM32F7 (one of the first announced devices using the Cortex-M7) was honoured by independent judges with the “Best-In-Show Award - Best Hardware Product” at ARMTechCon 2014. As well as STMicroelectronics, Atmel, Freescale and Spansion have also publicly announced that they have licensed Cortex-M7.
The Linley Group Analysts’ Choice Awards also included “Best Mobile Chip”, which was awarded to ARM’s partner, STMicroelectronics’ STM32F411 sensor hub, which is based around a Cortex-M4 and which makes use of the Cortex-M4 DSP extensions. The Linley Group note that these extensions “enable always-on monitoring of incoming audio and other sensor data, waking the AP [application processor] only when necessary”.
ARM’s CPUs also featured in the choice of “Best Mobile Processor” which was awarded to ARM’s partner, Nividia and in the “Best Networking Chip” which went to Marvell.