ARM expands development tools for pre-silicon mobile design - Embedded.com

ARM expands development tools for pre-silicon mobile design

LONDON — ARM is releasing a version of its development tools specifically designed for users of its cores in mobile phone applications. RealView Development Suite 3.1 Professional tools brings together four technologies and supports the latest ARM technology-based processors for mobile designs.

The tools suite is designed to support higher performance ARM processors, such as the Cortex-A8 processor, and includes vectorizing compilation for the NEON media processing engine which it said to increase the performance of multimedia applications by more than 200 percent from standard C code.

RealView Development Suite 3.1 Professional combines four RealView technologies: the RealView Development Suite; the RealView Profiler; the Real-Time System Models; and NEON vectorizing compiler technology.

It also integrates with the RealView ESL tools enabling developers to use a single set of tools from architectural exploration, through system-on-chip design, system bring-up, and the deployment of hardware and virtual platforms. The inclusion of fast Real-Time System models enables developers to create complete software systems before silicon is available accelerating the mobile handset design cycle by up to six months.

At Mobile World Congress, On2 Technologies (Tarrytown, NY), which acquired Hantro Products Oy (Oulu, Finland) in 2007, will demonstrate the adaption of its video software codecs to NEON technology without needing access to hardware from silicon vendors. “With this approach, we are able to provide optimized solutions in the same time frame as silicon vendors are providing hardware platforms.” said Mika Hakala, general manager – Embedded Solutions, On2 Technologies.

The tools include a Real-Time System Model of the Cortex-A8 processor that incorporates the NEON SIMD unit. The performance of this model is equivalent to silicon running at 200MHz or more, on a typical host PC, which makes it suitable for developing mobile applications ahead of silicon availability. Together with the cycle timings delivered by the RealView Profiler, this makes it possible for software developers to obtain a thorough understanding of performance bottlenecks and optimize their application months before target hardware is complete.

The integration of the RealView Profiler enables non-intrusive analysis of code, resulting in a highly-optimized system. Using the RealView Profiler on existing applications has enabled software developers to improve performance by 30 percent and at the same time reduce ROM size by 30 percent. The RealView Profiler also enables software developers to analyze code coverage in order to achieve higher software quality and reliability.

The NEON vectorizing compiler enables software developers to take advantage of the NEON advanced SIMD media processing extensions using standard ISO C and standard ISO C++ code. ARM says this can improve the performance of individual kernels by up to 400 percent and complete media applications by more than 200 percent.

Processors supported by the tools include the ARM926EJ-S, ARM1136JF-S, ARM1176JZF-S processors, as well as the Cortex-A8 processor.

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