In a new era of computing driven by the convergence of 5G, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT), embedded developers need the richness of Linux-based operating systems. These must meet deterministic system requirements in ever lower power, thermally constrained design environments—all while addressing critical security and reliability requirements. Traditional system-on-chip (SoC) field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) blending reconfigurable hardware with Linux-capable processing on a single chip provide developers ideal devices for customization, yet consume too much power, lack proven levels of security and reliability, or use inflexible and expensive processing architectures.
In response, Microchip Technology Inc. extended its Mi-V ecosystem by unveiling the architecture for a new class of SoC FPGAs that combine the industry’s lowest power mid-range PolarFire FPGA family with a complete microprocessor subsystem based on the open, royalty-free RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).
Announced today at the RISC-V Summit in Santa Clara, California, Microchip’s new PolarFire SoC architecture brings real-time deterministic asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP) capability to Linux platforms in a multi-core coherent central processing unit (CPU) cluster. The PolarFire SoC architecture, developed in collaboration with SiFive, 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, and Microchip’s built-in two-channel logic analyzer SmartDebug. The PolarFire SoC 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, defense-grade secure boot and 128Kb flash boot memory.
Evaluate and begin PolarFire SoC designs today using the antmicro Renode™ system modeling platform, which is now integrated with Microchip’s SoftConsole integrated design environment (IDE) for embedded designs targeting PolarFire SoCs. A PolarFire SoC development kit is also available now, consisting of the PolarFire FPGA-enabled HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board and SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed Development Board with its RISC-V microprocessor subsystem. For more information, visit www.microsemi.com/polarfiresoc or contact email@example.com.
As part of the announcement, Microchip is launching a new Mi-V Embedded Experts Program, a worldwide partner network to assist customers in hardware/software designs for PolarFire SoC. The addition of this program ensures support throughout the entire lifecycle of customer products, and helps to jump-start designs and shorten time to market. Members also get access to direct technical support and early access to development platforms and silicon. Visit www.microsemi.com/product-directory/fpga-soc/5210-mi-v-embedded-ecosystem or contact Mi-V-EmbeddedPartner@microchip.com for more information.