1.2.1. Instruction compression

A typical 32-bit architecture can manipulate 32-bit integers with single instructions, and address a large address space much more efficiently than a 16-bit architecture. When processing 32-bit data, a 16-bit architecture takes at least two instructions to perform the same task as a single 32-bit instruction.

When a 16-bit architecture has only 16-bit instructions, and a 32-bit architecture has only 32-bit instructions, overall the 16-bit architecture has higher code density, and greater than half the performance of the 32-bit architecture.

Thumb implements a 16-bit instruction set on a 32-bit architecture, giving higher performance than on a 16-bit architecture and with higher code density than a 32-bit architecture.

The ARM7EJ-S processor gives you the choice of running in ARM state, or Thumb state, or a mix of the two. This enables you to optimize both code density and performance to best suit your application requirements.

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