By Bee Hayes-Thakore and thomasensergueix
Pervasive connectivity, largely spurred by mobile and tablet use is transforming the way we consume and interact with each other through cloud connectivity. The Internet of Things will expand this interaction further to a multitude of connected devices, influencing the connected city, home, healthcare and all aspects of embedded intelligence. This future demands embedded intelligence to be always-on, always-aware, always-connected, and demands more performance (particularly high Digital Signal Processing (DSP) performance) for local data pre-processing, voice and image processing, access to richer content and increased system reliability and fault tolerance.
It is with this future of embedded intelligence in mind that we announced today the new ARM Cortex-M7 processor, bringing a host of new features and capabilities to the Cortex-M family of low-power, 32-bit processors. Cortex-M7 introduces a number of micro-architectural features which enable our partners to build chips that can reach much higher levels of performance than existing microcontroller cores in terms of general-purpose code, DSP code and floating point code.
Three lead licensees: Atmel, Freescale and STMicroelectronics have been working with ARM since the very early stage of development on the Cortex-M7 processor – they will be bringing exciting new products to market over the coming months. The ARM Cortex-M7 processor is targeted at demanding embedded applications used in next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories Through these products, the benefits delivered by the Cortex-M7 processor will be apparent to users in our increasingly connected world.
For example domestic appliances (or white goods as they are referred to) would have previously had a simple user interface and be controlled by simple processors. But the next generation devices are getting smarter in order to operate more efficiently using minimal energy and resources. Next generation products are moving to more sophisticated displays, advanced touch screen panels, advanced control motors to include field oriented control algorithms in their motor driver control in order to operate more efficiently. Some of these also need to run communications software stacks to interface with other appliances and interface with the outside world to provide billing information, power usage and maintenance information.
All of these requirements demand more performance from the microcontroller, which lies at the heart of the appliance – Cortex-M7 based MCUs will deliver that performance. In addition to excellent performance, not only does the Cortex-M7 processor extend the low power DNA inherent in the Cortex-M family but it also provides the same C-friendly programmer's model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors. Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7 core. System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs. You can find more information on Cortex-M7 on arm.com.
ARM TechCon - the largest meeting of the ARM Partnership - is taking place in Santa Clara in just a few days. Dr Ian Johnson, Product Manager for the Cortex-M7, will talk in greater depth about the the features of this new processor in “The Future Direction of the ARM Cortex-M Processor Family” session (2pm-3.50pm, October 1st) along with invited speakers from lead licensees and additional guests. Free ARM Expo passes are available with ARMExp100 code.
But why wait, you can start discussing Cortex-M7 processors with embedded experts here today!
Related content and discussions also on:
For those looking for more information and comment, jensbauer created a really helpful document which you can find here: Information on the Cortex-M7
Thanks to Jens, and also to Joseph Yiu for this further discussion on the Cortex-M7
Check out Freescale's blog on their view of the Cortex-M7
The Embedded Beat: The new ARM® Cortex®-M7 | Freescale Community
Chin - It's great to see pbeckmann will be speaking with Ian in the session ' The Future Direction of the ARM Cortex-M Processor Family' Bee mentioned in her blog!
See you next week
We are so excited about the possibilities of the M7. I want audio interfaces to all my connected devices.
Hi daith thanks for your question.
With the introduction of the Cortex-M7 with its high performance point, caches and TCMs, there is indeed some overlap between the features available in the high-end Cortex-M and the Cortex-R4 and Cortex-R5 Processors.
The Cortex-M Series processors are primarily targeted at microcontrollers and embedded SoCs, which require fast interrupt response using an easy-to-use, C-friendly programmers’ model. The Cortex-M7 brings high performance, optional caches and tightly coupled memories to customers requiring those traditional Cortex-M features. The Cortex-M Series also benefits from the CMSIS standard providing a common hardware abstraction across Cortex-M silicon vendors, and has the widest range of available tools, RTOS and middleware in the embedded industry.
The Cortex-R Series processors are primarily targeted at high performance real-time SoC embedded systems, but have also been adopted for several specialist microcontrollers. The Cortex-R Series Processors have more pipeline stages typically enabling them to run at higher clock frequencies. Overall, Cortex-R Processors use the classic ARM processor programmers’ model with an exception model which provides a wider variety of system implementation choices, and support both the ARM and Thumb instruction sets.
Hope this helps.