ARM cores in FPGA ?

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Hi,

We have here real good skills in Windows CE software development in our
software departement and I was wondering if there was any solution to get an
ARM7 or ARM9 core running in a Xilinx FPGA ?

Any feedbacks ?

Thanks.

Stéphane.



Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
Hi,

Maybe you can consider to go to the FPGA's of ACTEL they have a free ARM
core for in there Mixed Signal FPGA:
http://www.actel.com/products/arminfusion /

Kind regards,
http://www.vhdl.eu


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Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?

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If they are working on WindowsCE development, the Actel FPGA
is not a good choice because WindowsCE need a Memory Management Unit.
The ARM7 core in Actel FPGA does not provide this feature.

Stéphane,
Does the ARM9 has to be in the FPGA?
If it doesn't have to be, you can use an ARM9 Core Tile board
   http://www.arm.com/products/DevTools/Versatile/CT926EJ-S.html
connect to a emulation baseboard
   http://www.arm.com/products/DevTools/EB.html
For additional logic blocks you can add extra FPGA by Logic Tile
   http://www.arm.com/products/DevTools/LogicTiles.html

Joseph
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Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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what Actel says "FREE" means 120USD per FPGA for ARM license fee in small
qty.
the do not want any small customers at all :(

Antti



Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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I've always wondered how much value was in the Actel ARM the whole announcement
and strategy has seemed strange to me.  I just took a look at the CoreMP7
product brief (http://www.actel.com/documents/CoreMP7_PB.pdf ) and on page 5
there is a list of the max MHz and the number of Tiles that the soft core
takes up.

  Max Freq   :  22.714 - 29.699 (Depends on device and if debug is supported)
  Tiles      :   6,104 -  8,587 (Depends on device and if debug is supported)
  Utilization:   26.0% - 99.3%  (Depends on device and if debug is supported)

This seems to be well below the performance level of a Xilinx MicroBlaze or
Altera NIOS-II soft core and extremely below the level of a a Xilinx PowerPC
hard core with a much higher area cost.

I know that there is niche out there for ARM7 prototypers, but with the
performance and area cost does this even come close to a general market
need?

Ed McGettigan
--
Xilinx Inc.

Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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  Yes, it looks more like a 'marketing tick box', than a compelling
engineering argument.

  You can buy 70MHz ARM uC, with FLASH Code storage, for under $2, and
these have quite high performance SSP interfaces - so a system that
needs a FPGA ( and not a huge code base) could slave one of these, and
save a lot of $$.

  Larger ARM uC are also available, and normally for about the same
price as the FLASH + SDRAM needed to support a FPGA core would be, but
with all the high memory bandwidth stuff on one chip - giving large
savings in PCB area/layers/EMC.

-jg




Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
Ed McGettigan schrieb:

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The 99.3 utilization is for smalles device the plain core does fit in
at all, its only for marketing, the core cant actually be used in that
device as there is nothing else as the core that fits.

The performance is pretty low as of max clock frequency and the FPGA
"resource price" is also huge, so yes it does not actually compete with
FPGA processors. ASFAIK Actel is only looking for a few big customers,
and maybe a few more occasional customers, but for small or medium
volume productst the actual costs of the "free" ARM core are way too
high.

But what I found VERY VERY interesting is the fact that CoreConsole
uses SPIRIT XML standard for the IP parametrization and interconnect
description.

Antti


Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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Apologies for my ignorance on this, but why is this significant?

Ed McGettigan
--
Xilinx Inc.

Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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SPIRIT promises to enable a plug-and-play environment for IP
integration that is tool, language and platform agnostic.  This allows
developers to import internal or third-party SPIRIT compliant IP into
various tools or flows to quickly integrate IP and build an SoC.  As
the SPIRIT ecosystem continues to grow more and more tool vendors and
IP providers are supporting SPIRIT.  SPIRIT is essentially just a way
to store SoC meta-data such that files, components, component
generators, memory-maps, interfaces, interconnect and abstraction
levels are defined in a standard human and machine readable way (that's
eXtensible).  SPIRIT provides a standard way to interface between
different tools, abstraction levels, companies, code generators, and
teams (i.e. design, verification, validation, and documentation).

Regards,
 Jeremy

---
PDTi [ http://www.productive-eda.com ]
SpectaReg -- Spec-down code and doc generation for register maps


Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
Thank you for your answers.

But the fact is that in our electronic department we design development kit
boards for main ARM processors used with Win CE ( AT91, NADIA, XSCALE,
Samsung 2SC2412 and others .. ) and the associated BSP in our software
departement.

The idea, here in the FPGA department, is to use the power of the Xilinx's
System On Chip capabilities, to offer a  custom system like the ones
designed for the WIN CE platforms. The optimal way would be to have a
synthetizable ARM7/9 core to link it to a SOC in the FPGA.

Second way would be to find an ARM core with no peripherals in a external
chips and connect it to the FPGA.

For now I didn't find anything like this.

Stéphane.



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Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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  That seems a slightly strange angle to take, as the peripherals are
effectively free. Your main choice is ROMless, or on Chip FLASH : and
that is decided by your application.
  Even the tiny ARM, have fast serial ports, that can connect to FPGA.
Larger ones, have external memory interfaces, so you could memory map
the FPGA onto those. More pins, and slightly better bandwidth.

-jg


Re: ARM cores in FPGA ?
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Why not check out the WebNet module from www.iotech.dk
Combines an AT91RM9200 and a Spartan - 3 FPGA.

Have some more info on ARM9 + FPGA boards
but that cannot be distributed here just yet.

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--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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