AVR CPU Core
This section discusses the Atmel® AVR® core architecture in general. The main function of the
CPU core is to ensure correct program execution. The CPU must therefore be able to access
memories, perform calculations, control peripherals and handle interrupts.
Figure 3. Block Diagram of the AVR Architecture
Data Bus 8-bit
32 x 8
I/O Module 2
I/O Module n
In order to maximize performance and parallelism, the AVR uses a Harvard architecture – with
separate memories and buses for program and data. Instructions in the program memory are
executed with a single level pipelining. While one instruction is being executed, the next instruc-
tion is pre-fetched from the program memory. This concept enables instructions to be executed
in every clock cycle. The program memory is In-System Reprogrammable Flash memory.
The fast-access Register file contains 32 x 8-bit general purpose working registers with a single
clock cycle access time. This allows single-cycle Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) operation. In a typ-
ical ALU operation, two operands are output from the Register file, the operation is executed,
and the result is stored back in the Register file – in one clock cycle.
Six of the 32 registers can be used as three 16-bit indirect address register pointers for Data
Space addressing – enabling efficient address calculations. One of the these address pointers
can also be used as an address pointer for look up tables in Flash Program memory. These
added function registers are the 16-bit X-register, Y-register and Z-register, described later in
The ALU supports arithmetic and logic operations between registers or between a constant and
a register. Single register operations can also be executed in the ALU. After an arithmetic opera-
tion, the Status Register is updated to reflect information about the result of the operation.