Login

CoreLink DMA Controllers

CoreLink DMA Controllers Image (View Larger CoreLink DMA Controllers Image)

DMA Controllers

The Direct Memory Access Controller (DMAC) is a hardware feature that enables movement of blocks of data from peripheral to memory, memory-to-peripheral or memory-to-memory. This movement of data by a separate entity significantly reduces the load on the processor. 

A DMAC can save power in a system by putting the CPU in a low power state and using the DMAC (fewer gates/transactions) to move the data. Equally, using a DMAC can achieve higher performance in a system where it moves data in parallel with processing in the CPU.

 


AMBA DMA Controllers for AXI and AHB

DMA Controllers can have a significant impact on both system performance and system power. It is critical that the design provides for optimum compatibility with the bus architecture (AMBA) and provides the flexibility required to support a wide range of system requirements.

ARM delivers DMA controllers for both high-end, high-performance AXI systems based  on the Cortex-A™ and Cortex-R™ families and cost-efficient AHB systems built around Cortex-M™ and ARM9 processors. 

DMA in high-performance AXI systems

The AMBA AXI-based PrimeCell® DMA Controller, DMA-330, is a highly flexible, high-performance DMAC designed to provide maximum configurability and programmability. Configurability optimizes the gate count for target systems. The size can be as low as 40K for low-end configurations. The DMA-330 also provides a natural migration path for users of the AMBA AHB based DMA Controller, PL080.

An FSM based DMAC can provide only limited functionalities as the gate count increases rapidly with the increase in the number of features supported. In contrast, the DMA-330 is a micro-programmable DMAC, with its own instruction set, and provides a rich set of features while keeping the gate count low. The DMA-330 instruction set design provides flexibility for programming DMA transfers. The program code is stored in system memory that the DMAC accesses using its AMBA AXI interface and the DMA-330 uses an efficient caching system to optimize performance and minimize bus traffic.

DMA in cost-effective AHB systems

For AHB systems based around the Cortex-M™ processors ARM delivers the DMA-230 "micro" DMA controller. Designed for very low gate count and low power operation DMA-230 provides a flexible, high-performance DMA Controller required by such designs.


AMBA DMA Controller Performance

The DMA-230 and DMA-330 DMA Controllers are highly configurable. Therefore, power, performance and area will depend on configuration.

  • DMA-230 is designed for very low area, typical configurations are 3K-10K gate.
  • DMA-330 is designed for high performance and runs at the frequency of the NIC-301 interconnect.

For more detailed information on performance, contact ARM directly.


DMA-330: AMBA AXI DMA Controller

The AMBA AXI-based DMA Controller (DMA-330) is a highly flexible, high-performance DMAC designed to provide maximum configurability and programmability. Configurability optimizes the gate count for target systems. The size can be as low as 40K for low-end configurations. The DMA-330 also provides a natural migration path for users of the AMBA AHB-based DMA Controllers, PL080 and PL081.

Feature  Benefit 
Centralized DMA resource Minimizes overhead, simplifies integration
Simple yet powerful instruction set  Provides flexibility for programming DMA transfers  
Single AXI master interface  Performs DMA transfers, simplifies integration 
Secure and non-secure programming  Supports TrustZone® technology, security independently managed per channel
Supports multiple transfer types  Memory-to-memory; memory-to-peripheral; peripheral-to-memory; scatter-gather 
Configurable through AMBA Designer  Enables the DMAC to be optimized for the application
Resources shared between DMA channels  Minimizes area and power

DMA-230: AMBA AHB μDMA Controller 

The DMA-230 is the ARM low gate count DMA controller. It is compatible with the AMBA AHB-Lite protocol and ideal for use with Cortex-M™ microcontroller designs. It is simple to include in system with a single APB and single AHB-Lite port, plus direct access to on-chip memory.

The DMA-230 has a simple programmer’s model, yet sophisticated programmable features for transfer modes such as Scatter-Gather, Ping-Pong and Primary-Alternate. 

DMA-230 Example with Cortex-M3


AMBA DMA Controllers: Related Products

The DMA-330 and DMA-230 DMA controllers are designed for compatibility with ARM's IP product portfolio, including:

Type Name
Configuration and stitching  AMBA Designer  
Performance exploration and functional verification    AMBA VPE  
AXI and AHB Interconnect    NIC-301, QoS-301ADK 
Processors  Cortex-A, Cortex-R, ARM11, ARM9Cortex-M (DMA-230) 
Media Processors    Mali Graphics Processors and Video Engines  
Memory Controllers  DMC-34X, SMC-35X, PL24X
                 


Maximise


Cookies

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our site you consent to our cookies.

Change Settings

Find out more about the cookies we set