ARM processors are a particular type of processors which are made by the ARM holdings PLC. This processor is also known as Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) in which simple central processing units produce a high performance quality for the users. It has 32 bits RISC load architecture. Nowadays ARM processor are widely used in a number of electronic products such as mobile phones, tablets, multi-media players and many more electrical devices. The direct administration of the memory is not possible in this design and is handled by the use of registers. They are also used in personal digital assistants, digital media and music layers, hand-held gaming systems, and hard drives of the computer.

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Features of ARM processors

Some of the features of ARM processors are as follows:

  • There are only 25 basic instruction types in this designed processor.
  • Most of the operations are implemented through registers.
  • All instructions can have some conditions with them.
  • There can be multiple modes of addressing in this processor
  • Manual stacks manipulation is done. Stack addressing and subroutines are explicitly programmed.
  • The 32 bits micro-processor made it possible to have access to memory and data manipulation saved in these 32 bits.
  • The address range of this processor is 26 bit wide. It allows 64 megabytes of memory to be accessed directly.
  • Usually there is a single cycle execution
  • There is no support in this processor for misaligned memory accesses.

ARM processors vs. Intel processors

ARM Block Diagram

When you purchase a processor you will get to know that some of the designs use Intel Atom processors while the other uses ARM architecture. These both processors are designed in a way for low-power operation. They are created to give the mobile a long battery life. But they are both based on different ideology. The ARM structure is made very simple and is intended to keep the energy wastage to the minimum. Intel processors are made of complicated designs to match the compatibility of the company‘s desktop and laptop CPU’s. ARM processors are being used in the portable devices from a very long time nut Intel has just entered to this area. Intel is believed to have a serious competition with the ARM technology. The power chips of ARM processors are relatively low in price, so if Intel will have to reconsider their pricing strategies to compete with it. The entry of ARM processors and their wide usage has forced Intel to increase their efficiency.

Advantages of using an ARM processor

Some of the advantages of ARM processors are listed below:

  • They are cheap as compared to other processors.
  • They are designed with such features that it consumes less power.
  • The devices with ARM processor can have a much better battery life than other processors.
  • They perform one operation at a time and thus work faster.
  • The availability and applications support has also made the users choose ARM processors.

ARM designs use a unique approach involving a boot loader for hardware configuration and operating system start-up. These are simple and use much less chip space.

Disadvantages of ARM processors

The disadvantages of ARM processors are as follows:

  • It is not binary compatible with x86, which means you cannot run windows on it very soon.
  • Some ARM processors clock frequencies, which is why speeds and memory bandwidths are limited in such cases.
  • The scheduling of instructions makes debugging difficult.
  • The performance of these processors greatly depends on the execution. If the programmer doesn’t execute it properly then it can take a long time to work properly.

Application of ARM processor

The ARM7 processor family continues to be used today for simple 32-bit devices; latest embedded designs are increasingly making use of latest ARM processors such as the Cortex™-M0 and Cortex-M3 processors. Both of these offer significant technical enhancements over the ARM7 family. The system designers are wishing to upgrade from ARM7 benefits and robust ARM processors to providing a wide range o upgrading options.

ARM’s focus on low power processors has proven to be an excellent match for Smartphones. Intel has been busy in attempting to slim down its powerhouse hardware. ARM is the industry's leading supplier of microprocessor technology in today’s world. They are offering the widest range of microprocessor cores. This is done to enhance the performance, power and cost requirements for almost all application markets.

The ARM has made a different set of tradeoffs (power efficiency over raw speed) and is moving in a different direction and a different set of tradeoffs in an attempt to go after the server market. Intel on the other hand, is effectively segmenting modern atom designs into server parts, desktop parts (like new Pentium models) and phones, to go after the low end. Neither design is inherently better at everything than the other.

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