mcpu vs march

Fri Aug 9 17:32:00 GMT 2013

On 8/9/2013 9:59 AM, Kyrylo Tkachov wrote:
>> On 8/9/2013 4:32 AM, Kyrylo Tkachov wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> I wanted to understand the difference of using march vs mcpu as
>> argument
>>>> to gcc.
>>>> I am compiling my code for a cortex-A8 CPU,  what would be better to
>> use:
>>>> -mcpu=cortex-a8 or -march=armv7-a
>>> -mcpu=cortex-a8 will perform specific optimisations for the Cortex-A8
>> such as
>>> instruction scheduling and will produce better performing code on that
>> core.
>>> -march=armv7-a just selects the ARMv7-a architecture which tells the
>> compiler
>>> that it can use the instructions in ARMv7-a, but it will not perform
>> any
>>> core-specific performance tuning.
>>> If you know that you'll be running your code on a Cortex-A8 you should
>> specify
>>> -mcpu=cortex-a8, it also automatically implies -march=armv7-a.
>>> For more information on the options available for ARM you can look at:
>>> HTH,
>>> Kyrill
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Channa
>> Hi Kyrill,
>> Thanks for the info.
>> Yes thats understood, but my concern is with respect to differences in
>> instructions when the code is compiled. For eg: if I use armv7-a as -
>> march & my cpu is cortex-a5 would it be possible that the code would
>> compile fine but might give undefined instruction at some point if the
>> compiler generated code has some instruction which is not supported on
>> cortex-a5?
> march=armv7-a will generate code that will run fine on all cores implementing
> ARMv7-a.
> Cortex-A5 is an ARMv7-a core, so with -march=armv7-a the code should not
> produce any undefined instruction exceptions on it.
> That being said, keep in mind that there is also the -mfpu option that
> controls the floating point/SIMD instructions that can be generated.
> If, for example, you compile with -mfpu=neon-vfpv4 but the core you're running
> on does not have a NEON unit, then you would get an exception if your code
> contained any NEON instructions.
> Note that the neither the -mcpu or -march options automatically set -mfpu,
> that's something that you have to set yourself.
> Kyrill
Hi Kyrill,

But what if there are certain CPU specific features?
For eg: cortex -a5 could have some features which are not supported on 
cortexa-8. And if I compile the code using -march=armv7-a ,compiler 
would compile it fine for both cortex-a8 & cortex-a5. But the code might 
have some issues running on cortex-a8 right?


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