9.5. Interrupt handlers

The ARM processor has two levels of external interrupt, FIQ and IRQ, both of which are level-sensitive active LOW signals into the core. For an interrupt to be taken, the appropriate disable bit in the CPSR must be clear.

FIQs have higher priority than IRQs in two ways:

The FIQ vector is the last entry in the vector table (at address 0x1c) so that the FIQ handler can be placed directly at the vector location and run sequentially from that address. This removes the need for a branch and its associated delays, and also means that if the system has a cache, the vector table and FIQ handler may all be locked down in one block within it. This is important because FIQs are designed to service interrupts as quickly as possible. The five extra FIQ mode banked registers enable status to be held between calls to the handler, again increasing execution speed.


An interrupt handler should contain code to clear the source of the interrupt.

Copyright © 1997, 1998 ARM Limited. All rights reserved.ARM DUI 0040D