Arm adds fpga option and new business model to DesignStart
- Release on:2018-10-01
The announcement in San Jose is an extension of the DesignStart development portal and also marks a change in the business mode. Phil Burr, Director of Portfolio Product Management at Arm, said: “This expands what is possible in fpgas, bringing Corex-M1 and Cortex-M3 with instant access, and license-free to fpga developers that are already familiar with the cpu”.
When asked why Arm is taking an altruistic approach with no royalties or license fees, Burr explained that DesignStart has been used to develop an asic for prototyping and then use an fpga in the design, and this introduction makes it easier to develop the fpga – ideally using the same core as in the prototype – to the manufacturing stage.
Changes made to the Cortex-M1 for DesignStart FPGA are a change to the AXI interface to enable the user to design with the Vivado environment and peripherals, optimisation in the pipeline to fit fpga structures and changes to the memory interface structure to make use of memory in fpgas that are configured as tightly coupled memories (TCMs).
Designers can sign up through the Vivado tool suite to access the Arm web page to download DesignStart FPGa for instant access.
Cortex-M1 is available in DesignStart FPGA today, with the Cortex-M3 due to be available at the end of the month. Simon George, Director, Product and Technical Marketing, System Software and SoC Solutions at Xilinx confirmed that the company’s Microblaz will still be available: “It’s about choice,” he said “The Cortex-M1 and –M3 are established, with a huge ecosystem, but diverse availability and code optimisation is very attractive to developers . . . we want both available and we are committed to both,” he said.