Microchip, via its Microsemi Corporation subsidiary, announced an extension to its Mi-V ecosystem by unveiling the architecture for a new class of SoC FPGAs at the RISC-V Summit during December 2018. The new family combines the low-power, mid-range PolarFire FPGA family with a complete microprocessor subsystem based on the open, royalty-free RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).
The new architecture brings real-time deterministic asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP) capability to Linux platforms in a multi-core coherent central processing unit (CPU) cluster. Developed in collaboration with SiFive, it features a flexible 2 MB L2 memory subsystem that can be configured as a cache, scratchpad or a direct access memory. This allows designers to implement deterministic real-time embedded applications simultaneously with a rich operating system for a variety of thermal- and space-constrained applications in collaborative, networked IoT systems.
PolarFire SoC includes extensive debug capabilities including instruction trace, 50 breakpoints, passive run-time configurable Advanced eXtensible Interface (AXI) bus monitors and FPGA fabric monitors, in addition to Microchip’s built-in two-channel logic analyser, SmartDebug.
The architecture includes reliability and security features, such as single error correction and double error detection (SEC-DED) on all memories, physical memory protection, a differential power analysis (DPA)-safe crypto core, defence-grade secure boot and 128 Kb Flash boot memory.
Evaluation and design with PolarFire SoC are supported by the antmicro Renode system modelling platform, which is now integrated with Microchip’s SoftConsole IDE for embedded designs targeting PolarFire SoCs. A PolarFire SoC development kit is also available, consisting of the PolarFire FPGA-enabled HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board and SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed Development Board with its RISC-V microprocessor subsystem.
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