Integrated Device Technology, Inc. has been a MIPS semiconductor partner since inherent in the MIPS architecture to embedded systems engineers. These. MIPS R The R processor family (Kane and Heinrich []) stems from the Stanford MIPS and is most similar to the DLX. MIPS architecture. was a MIPS R microprocessor due to its simple instruction encodings. architecture allows the CPU to implement other speed increasing.

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The first reason for this decision is the architecture itself, with its simple and regular instruction set, straightforward memory-model, clean exception and interrupt handling. Secondly, the market for bit embedded systems and system-on-a-chip designs is still dominated by microcontrollers based on f3000 MIPS and ARM architectures.

Thirdly, documentation and tools for the MIPS architecture are readily available.

MIPS architecture – Wikipedia

For example, the DLX processor used in the textbook s by J. Patterson is closed based on the MIPS concepts. The remainder of this document first gives a broad overview of the MIPS architecture, including instruction-set, memory-model, and interrupts.

The following section then describes the relevant details, user-interface, and configuration settings of the TinyMips microprocessor. While TinyMips faithfully implements the full MIPS-I instruction-set and memory-model, it does use a simplified execution model without instruction pipeline. Finally, we present an overview of the GNU toolchain and explain how to setup your own cross-compiler and the binutils assembler and helper tools. Using the gcc cross-compiler allows you to write programs and compile programs for the TinyMips processor on your own computer.

Their prototype chip proved that a microprocessor with five-stage execution pipeline and cache controller could be integrated onto a single silicon chip, greatly improving performance over non-pipelined designs. The key concepts of the original MIPS architecture are: Their first product was the R microprocessor, introduced inand followed in by the R floating-point coprocessor.

Both chips were successfully used in several of the early workstations. The next MIPS processor, called R, was a variant of the R with the same instruction set, but optimized for low-cost embedded systems.

This processor and its system-on-a-chip implementations are still popular and used in millions of devices e. Since then, several improved variants of the original instruction set have been introduced: One of the key features of the MIPS architecture is the regular register set.

MIPS architecture

Architecthre consists of the bit wide program counter PCand a bank of 32 general-purpose registers called r All general-purpose registers can be 3r000 as the target registers and data sources for all logical, arithmetical, memory access, and control-flow instructions. Only r0 is special because it is internally hardwired to zero. Reading r0 always returns the value 0x, and a value written to r0 is ignored and lost.


Note that the MIPS architecture has no separate status register. Two separate bit registers called HI and LO are provided for the integer multiplication and division instructions. The later variants add the bit double-word and floating-point data-types.

MIPS architecture processors

All machine instructions are encoded as bit words, and most integer operations are performed on bit integers. The analysis of typical processor workloads indicated that byte load and store operations were used frequently, which led the MIPS designers to organize the main memory as a single flat array of bytes.

Using bit addresses, this results in a maximum main memory of 4 Gigabytes. However, based on the external bit data bus, all data transfers between memory and processor always use a full word, or bits. Extra logic in the processor and the memory is used to enable and to extract the corresponding subset of the data when executing the half-word and byte load and store mils.

All memory accesses have to be aligned for the corresponding data-type: Misaligned memory accesses are detected by the processor and mip program is terminated. Next to the bit data bus and address-bus, the MIPS processors also generate four byte-enable signals during each memory mipx, where mups low level ‘0’ indicates that the corresponding group of 8-bits is active during the transfer.

One rather unusual feature of the MIPS architecture is architectude support of both the big-endian and little-endian memory models.

That is, the ordering of bytes inside a four-byte word can be selected by configuring the bus-interface of the processor. While the TinyMips processor can be switched to use either the little-endian or big-endian memory model, this feature has not been thoroughly tested.

Only the little-endian variant is used for the example applets, because this is the default generated by our gcc cross-compiler.

To better support multitasking and multithreaded applications, all MIPS processors use a architetcure management unit MMU to map virtual program addresses to actual physical hardware addresses. The R processor and the later high-performance processors rely on a fully-featured MMU, which is programmed via coprocessor 0 instructions.

The low-end processors like the R rely on a much simpler scheme with the following static mapping from virtual to physical addresses: The default reset address is 0xbfc0.


Programs running in user mode can only access memory addresses in the “user space” segment, while memory accesses in either of the kernel segments are only allowed for programs in supervisor mode. However, typical embedded systems often don’t require multi-user support, and the software could run in privileged mode all the time. While the static mapping explained above is rather simple, no virtual address remains unchanged by the mapping.

This adds another layer of complexity when trying to keep track of memory accesses during a simulation, because the software operates with virtual addresses, r0300 the physical addresses appear on the address bus and are used to control the external memories and peripheral devices.

Therefore, the TinyMips processor can also be used with the memory management switched r3000so that virtual and physical addresses are the same. This mode helps understanding the software running on the simulated processor, and is used in all of the introductory acrhitecture. The I-type or immediate instructions hold a bit field; depending on the instruction this is interpreted as an unsigned integer in the range The J-type or jump instructions reserve a bit offset.

This can be used as a sign-extended offset for PC-relative branches, or the lowest 5 bits are used to select one of the general-purpose registers.

The R-type or register instruction group includes all common arithmetical and logical operations, but also the load- and store instructions. The function field acts as a 6-bit sub-opcode that selects the operation, while the sa field encodes the shift-amount used for the shift-operations. Please refer to the datasheets or the architectude for a complete listing and explanation of all instructions.

You can also look at the source code of the MIPS32 interpreterwhich defines all opcodes and contains the actual implementation of each instruction. Register convention As explained above, the MIPS hardware does not enforce a specific use for the general-purpose registers except for r0. However, the following register convention has evolved as a standard for MIPS programming and is is used by most tools, compilers, and operating systems: