‘Ultra-efficient’ ARM Cortex-A32 Processor expands embedded and IoT portfolio

ARM has announced a new addition to what it describes as the family of ultra-efficient ARM application processors, the ARM® Cortex®-A32 processor, targeting next-generation embedded products.

The Cortex-A32 processor reportedly brings the benefits of the ARMv8-A architecture into power-constrained, 32-bit embedded applications. The Cortex-A32 is the smallest and most power-efficient core in the range.

“ARM offers an unrivalled portfolio of processors that power billions of extremely efficient embedded devices,” said James McNiven, general manager, CPU group. “The Cortex-A32 processor, enabled with secure ARM TrustZone® technology, builds on the trail blazed by the Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A7 processors in embedded applications such as single-board computing, IoT edge nodes and wearables. It brings greater performance, efficiency and other benefits of the ARMv8-A architecture for ARM’s silicon partners to innovate on for richer, more secure embedded systems.”

The smallest, lowest power ARMv8-A processor for 32-bit embedded

The Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A7 processors, which are based on the ARMv7-A architecture, are among the most widely adopted application processors, powering a huge variety of embedded applications. The Cortex-A32, a 32-bit processor built on the ARMv8-A architecture, is 25% more efficient than the current leading ARM embedded 32-bit core, the Cortex-A7, and delivers higher performance while using less power. In its smallest configuration, the Cortex-A32 occupies less than 0.25 mm2 of silicon area while consuming less than 4mW of total power at 100 MHz in a 28nm process node.

The Cortex-A32 can be configured in multiple ways from single- to quad-core. This makes it scalable enough to serve the smallest and most efficient compute devices through to Internet of Things (IoT) gateways and industrial compute applications.

“IoT nodes have become increasingly diverse, with the more sophisticated nodes often requiring a rich OS,” said Maarten Ectors, vice president, IoT, Canonical. “Combining Snappy Ubuntu Core and the highly-efficient processing and scalability of Cortex-A32 will enable developers to truly push the boundaries of edge devices for IoT.”

Secure foundation for embedded processors

The Cortex-A32 includes ARM TrustZone technology to provide a secure foundation in the SoC hardware. TrustZone is a widely deployed security technology, providing banking-class trust capability in devices such as premium smartphones. While it includes cryptographic instructions for efficient authentication and protection, the Cortex-A32 can also be coupled with TrustZone CryptoCell-700 series products to enable enhanced cryptographic hardware acceleration and advanced root of trust.

Solutions for the diverse embedded market

As part of the world’s number one embedded ecosystem, Cortex-A class processors are found in applications from automotive infotainment and industrial controllers to robots and wearable devices. With more than 100 Cortex-A based single board computers and an unrivalled choice of rich embedded software in place, the Cortex-A32 joins the Cortex-A family in providing embedded designers with a rapid and low-cost route to systems and software development. More information about Single Board Computers is available on the ARM Connected Community.

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