The ARM architecture is one of the most widely licensed and implemented embedded processor solutions in the world, and is the industry's leading provider of 32-bit embedded RISC microprocessors with almost 75% of the market, according to analyst Andrew Allison . ARM offers a wide range of processor cores based on a common architecture to deliver high performance with low power consumption and system cost.
The core is codenamed Halla, after the highest mountain in South Korea. According to Jin Cheon Kim, the director of the processor architecture lab at Samsung, the core is pin compatible with the ARM1020E, which is built on a 130 nanometer process and operates at 325MHz. He also said it provides significant performance advancement beyond that core or the ARM-based XScale from Intel Corp. Samsung, which has design experience from making Alpha processors, "is applying our expertise in high speed processors to the ARM design. We have achieved this mostly by circuit level speed-up."
Manufactured on a 0.13-micron process, Kim said the core has 1.8 watts power dissipation at 1.2-GHz, or 550 milliwatts at 800-MHz. Improvements included full-custom circuit design and layout. Samsung is using dynamic circuits in timing-critical paths, employing dual-rail low-swing buses, and has completely redesigned the control logic.