Overview about ARM
ARM, short for Advanced RISC Machine, is a group of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) structures for computer processors, adjusted for different environments. Arm Holdings builds the architecture and allows other companies to use it. These companies build their own products that perform one in all those architectures – including systems-on-chips (SoC) and systems-on-modules (SoM) that incorporate memory, interfaces, radios, and so on. It also creates cores that perform this instruction set and provides these designs to some companies that combine those core designs into their own products.
Arm Holdings regularly publishes updates to the architecture. There are versions ARMv3 to ARMv7 to support 32-bit address space (pre-ARMv3 chips, made before Arm Holdings was formed, as used in the Acorn Archimedes, had 26-bit address space) and 32-bit arithmetic. Most architectures have 32-bit fixed-length guidance. The ARMv8-A architecture released in 2011 added support for 64-bit address space and 64-bit arithmetic with its new 32-bit fixed-length instruction set.
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If you know too little about Arm technology, you should check out the Cortex-A Series Programmer’s Guide to get some general information about the Arm architecture and programming instructions. These instructions provide you with information related to Neon for Armv8. If you are improving Armv7 devices, you may discover version 1.0 of the Neon Programmer’s Guide more suitable for your demands.
In another case, if you are coding manually for a certain device, check out the Technical Reference Manual for that processor to know details about the microarchitecture that can help you optimize execution. Arm also releases a Software Optimization Guide that can be helpful for some processors. For instance, you can check out the Arm Cortex-A75 Technical Reference Manual and the Arm Cortex-A75 Software Optimization Guide.
Neon for Armv8
The Arm Neon technology is the advanced SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) architecture expansion for implementation of the Armv8-A or Armv8-R architecture forms. Neon technology implements an infatuated expansion to the Instruction Set Architecture, giving extra instructions that can do mathematical operations in parallel on various data streams.
This helps to make the multimedia user experience better by accelerating audio and video encoding/decoding, user interface, 2D/3D graphics, or gaming. Neon can also quicken signal processing algorithms and features to accelerate applications including audio and video processing, voice and facial recognition, computer vision, and deep learning.
Fundamentals of Armv8 Neon technology
Armv8-A contains both 32-bit and 64-bit Execution states, each with their own instruction sets:
- The 64-bit Execution State of the Armv8-A architecture is called AArch64. In this state, the processor performs the A64 instruction set, which contains Neon instructions (also known as SIMD instructions). GNU and Linux documentation is sometimes known as AArch64 and ARM64.
- The 32-bit Execution state of the Armv8-A architecture is called AArch32, which is almost the same as Armv7. In this state, the processor can perform either the A32 (also known as ARM in previous versions of the architecture) or the T32 (Thumb) instruction set. The A32 and T32 instruction sets are backward compatible with Armv7, including Neon instructions.
This guide emphasizes on Neon programming utilizing A64 instructions for the AArch64 Execution state of the Armv8-A architecture. If you want the Neon code you write to operate in the AArch32 execution state of the Armv8-A architecture, you may need to refer to version 1.0 of the Neon Programmer’s Guide.
Does Armv8 support Windows, Mac OS?
Chips built on the ARMv8 architecture can process more data, manage more memory, thereby increasing the overall performance of the device. ARMv8 also announced support for large operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS, which run in 64-bit mode. In addition, Microsoft also said that it is developing a version of Windows 8 that can run on 64-bit ARM architecture. Currently, the detailed configuration of ARMv8 has been sent to manufacturers and it is expected that the first CPUs using this architecture will appear in 2012. Products for businesses have to wait longer, maybe in 2014. Immediately, AppliedMicro has introduced the SoC (System-on-chip) system called X-Gene designed based on ARMv8 architecture with the number of processor cores from 2 to 128 cores, maximum clock speed. 3GHz, manufactured on 40nm or 28nm lines and consumes only 2W of power per core.