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Employing ARM NEON in embedded system's audio processing

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:audio processing? ARM NEON processing? Cortex processor audio?

The ARM Cortex-A8 processor is the most advanced, high performance, low-power processor by ARM. Based on the ARMv7 architecture, the processor suits a variety of mobile and consumer applications, including mobile phones, STBs, game consoles and car navigation. As the core technology of Cortex-A8 processor, NEON technology has the flexibility to implement multiple combinations of video encode/decode, 3D graphics, speech processing, audio decoding, image processing and baseband processing.

NEON technology is a 64,128bit single instruction multiple data stream (SIMD) instruction set. NEON supports 8-, 16-, 32-, 64bit integer and single precision floating-point SIMD operations to handle audio, video, image and other data processing. NEON technology has separate registers and pipeline, which is independent of the ARM integer pipeline. Through the use of NEON technology's multimedia features, Cortex-A8 processor can decode MPEG4 VGA video (including the de-blocking filter, YUV to RGB conversion and other operations) at 275MHz with 30fps speed. NEON technology can execute an MP3 decoder with processor frequency lower than 10MHz.

The Cortex-A8 processor's NEON media processing engine pipeline starts at the end of the main integer pipeline. As a result, all exceptions and branch mispredictions are resolved before instructions reach it. More importantly, there is a zero load-use penalty for data in the Level-1 cache. The ARM integer unit generates the addresses for NEON loads and stores as they pass through the pipeline, thus allowing data to be fetched from the Level-1 cache before it is required by a NEON data processing operation. Deep instruction and load-data buffering between the NEON engine, the ARM integer unit and the memory system allow the latency of Level-2 accesses to be hidden for streamed data. A store buffer prevents NEON stores from blocking the pipeline and detects address collisions with the ARM integer unit accesses and NEON loads.

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