Microchip launches $500 RISC-V based FPGA development kit - Embedded.com

Microchip launches $500 RISC-V based FPGA development kit

Microchip Technology has launched what it says is the industry’s first RISC-V based system-on-chip (SoC) field programmable gate array (FPGA) development kit, available for under $500.

Microchip FPGA PolarFire SoC IcicleKit Mi-V-Ecosystem
Icicle RISC-V based SoC FPGA development kit from Microchip

The rising adoption of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) is driving the need for an affordable, standardized development platform that embeds RISC-V technology and leverages the diverse RISC-V ecosystem. Using Microchip’s new Icicle development kit for PolarFire FPGAs, designers who want to deploy a programmable RISC-V-based SoC FPGA are now able to start development and evaluate the broad network of RISC-V ecosystem products such as real-time operating systems (RTOS), debuggers, compilers, system on modules (SOMs) and security solutions. The Mi-V RISC-V partner ecosystem is a continuously expanding, comprehensive suite of tools and design resources developed by Microchip and third parties to fully support RISC-V designs.

Microchip’s Icicle Kit enables PolarFire SoC FPGAs with:

  • RISC-V processor complex from SiFive and embedded trace macro from UltraSoC.
  • Development tools from Adacore, Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics and Wind River.
  • Commercial RTOS solutions such as Nucleus and VxWorks that complement Microchip’s Linux and bare-metal solutions.
  • Middleware solutions from DornerWorks, Hex Five, Veridify Security and wolfSSL
  • SOM and design services from organizations such as Antmicro, ARIES Embedded, Digital Core Technologies, Emdalo Technologies, Sundance DSP, and Trenz Electronic
Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle kit block diagram
Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle kit block diagram (Image: Microchip)

The Icicle Kit is centered around a 250K logic element (LE) PolarFire SoC device and includes a PCIe connector, mikroBUS socket, dual RJ45 connector, micro-USB connector, CAN bus connector, Raspberry Pi header, JTAG port and SD card interfaces, which allow developers a full-featured platform for development. The board is supported by Microchip’s fully designed, validated and tested power management and clocking devices, an Ethernet PHY (VSC8662XIC), USB controller (USB3340-EZK-TR) and current sensors (PAC1934T-I/JQ).

Microchip said PolarFire SoC FPGAs deliver up to 50 percent lower total power than competing devices. By using SoC FPGAs, developers also have greater opportunities for customization and differentiation through the devices’ inherent upgradability and ability to integrate functions on a single chip.

David Patterson, vice-chair of the RISC-V International board of directors and 2017 Turing Award winner, said, “It’s exciting to see a low-power RISC-V board for under $500. Microchip’s Icicle Kit, with an embedded PolarFire SoC, will accelerate advances in the RISC-V software ecosystem and be a boon to applications that need a low-power mid-range SoC FPGA.”

Bruce Weyer, vice president of the FPGA business unit at Microchip, said, “We are removing barriers to entry through a low-cost evaluation platform that will give embedded engineers, software designers and hardware developers a vehicle to implement designs that leverage the benefits of the open RISC-V ISA combined with Microchip’s best-in-class form factors, thermals and low-power characteristics of PolarFire SoC FPGAs.”

The PolarFire SoC FPGA family is available in a variety of packages and sizes to match the performance and power tradeoffs for the application, enabling customers to implement their solutions in package sizes as small as 11 × 11 mm. Microchip’s Icicle Kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs is ideally suited for smart embedded imaging, IoT, industrial automation, defense, automotive and communication applications.

Microchip’s Icicle Kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs is available now starting at $489.00. PolarFire FPGAs are in production with early samples of the SoC FPGA available today.

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