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RA2 Cortex-A9 implementation

This course covers both Cortex-A9 single and multiple core high-end ARM CPUs

formateur
Objectives
  • This course is split into 3 important parts:
    • Cortex-A9(MP) architecture
    • Cortex-A9(MP) software implementation and debug
    • Cortex-A9(MP) hardware implementation
  • MMU operation under Linux is described.
  • Spin-lock implementation in a multicore system is also detailed
  • Interaction between level 1 caches, level 2 cache and main memory is studied through sequences.
  • The exception mechanism is explained, indicating how virtualization enables the support of several operating systems.
  • An overview of the Coresight specification is provided prior to describing the debug related units.
  • The course also describes the hardware implementation and provides some guidelines to design a SoC based on Cortex-A9.
  • Cache coherency is detailed, including cache tag mirrors, the advantage of connecting DMA channels to ACP and the sequences that have to be used to modify a page descriptor.
A more detailed course description is available on request at training@ac6-training.com
Prerequisites and related courses
  • Knowledge of ARM7/9 or having attended our course ARM fundamentals.
  • This course does not include chapters on low level programming.
  • Related courses:

First day
INTRODUCTION TO CORTEX-A9
  • Cortex-A9 variants
  • New memory-mapped registers in MPCore
  • The 3 instruction sets
  • Configurable options
ARM BASICS
  • States and modes
  • Benefit of register banking
  • Exception mechanism
  • Instruction sets
INSTRUCTION PIPELINE
  • Superscalar pipeline operation
  • Branch prediction mechanism
  • Return stack
  • Predicted and non-predicted instructions
TRUSTZONE
  • Secure to non secure permitted transitions
  • L1 and L2 secure state indicators, memory partitioning
  • Interrupt management when there is a mix of secure and non-secure interrupt sources
  • Boot sequence
INTRODUCTION TO MULTI-CORE SYSTEMS
  • AMP vs SMP
  • Boot sequence
  • Exclusive access monitor
  • Spin-lock implementation
  • Using events
  • Basic concepts of RTOS supporting A9 SMP architecture
Second day
THUMB-2 INSTRUCTION SET (V7-A)
  • General points on syntax
  • Branch and control flow instructions
  • Memory access instructions
  • Exception generating instructions
  • If…then conditional blocks
  • Interworking ARM and Thumb states
  • Demonstration of assembly sequences aimed to understand this new instruction set
MEMORY MANAGEMENT UNIT
  • Page access permission, domain and page protection
  • Page attributes, memory types
  • Utilization of memory barrier instructions
  • Format of the external page descriptor table
  • TLB lockdown
  • Abort exception, on-demand page mechanism
  • MMU maintenance operations
  • Using a common page descriptor table in an SMP platform, maintaining coherency of multiple TLBs
LEVEL 1 MEMORY SYSTEM
  • Virtual indexing, physical tagging for instruction cache
  • Supported maintenance operations
  • Write-back write allocate cache allocation
  • Memory hint instructions PLD, PLI, PLDW, data prefetching
  • Describing transient cache related transactions: line fills and line eviction
  • 4-entry 64-bit merging store buffer
HARDWARE COHERENCY
  • Snooping basics: CLEAN, CLEAN & INVALIDATE and INVALIDATE snoop requests
  • Snoop Control Unit: cache-to-cache transfers
  • MOESI state machine
  • Understanding through sequences how data coherency is maintained between L2 memory and L1 caches
  • Accelerator Coherency Port
Third day
AMBA 3
  • AXI
    • Topology: direct connection, multi-master, multi-layer
    • PL301 AXI interconnect
    • Separate address/control and data phases
    • AXI channels, channel handshake
    • Transaction ordering
    • Read and write burst timing diagrams
    • Cortex-A9 external memory interface, ID encoding
  • APB 3
HARDWARE IMPLEMENTATION
  • Clock domains
  • Reset domains
  • Wait For Interrupt architecture
  • AXI master interface attributes
  • Exclusive L2 cache
  • AXI sideband information
PL310 LEVEL 2 CACHE
  • AXI interface characteristics
  • Exclusive mode operation
  • Understanding through sequences how cacheable information is copied from memory to level 1 and level 2 caches
  • TrustZone support
  • Power management
  • Cache event monitoring
  • Describing each maintenance operation
  • Cache lockdown
  • Interrupt management
PERFORMANCE MONITOR
  • Event counting
  • Selecting the event to be counted for the 6 counters
  • Debugging a multi-core system with the assistance of the PMU
Fourth day
INTERRUPT CONTROLLER
  • Cortex-A9 exception management
  • Interrupt virtualization
  • Integrated timer and watchdog unit in MPCore
  • Interrupt groups: STI, PPI, SPI, LSPI
  • Legacy mode
  • Prioritization of the interrupt sources
  • Distribution of the interrupts to the Cortex-A9 cores
  • Detailing the interrupt sequence
  • Spurious interrupt
LOW POWER MODES
  • Voltage domains
  • Cortex-A9 power control
  • Communication to the power management controller
  • SCU power status register
CORESIGHT DEBUG UNITS
  • Invasive debug, non-invasive debug
  • APBv3 debug interface
  • Connection to the Debug Access Port
  • Process related breakpoint and watchpoint
  • Program counter sampling
  • Event catching
  • Debug Communication Channel
  • PTM interface, connection to funnel
  • Debug registers description
  • Cross-Trigger Interface, debugging a multi-core SoC