GCC compilers and RTOSs provide flexible support for large-scale embedded projects
April 26, 2005 - Cambridge Consultants has announced powerful new development tools for its royalty-free 32-bit RISC processor core for ASIC and FPGA applications, XAP3. The tools include the widely-used GCC (Gnu Compiler Collection) C/C++ compiler, and the uCLinux and Micrium µC/OS-II real-time operating systems, and will provide exceptionally powerful and flexible support for embedded system applications. The new software is in addition to Cambridge Consultants' own ANSI C compiler for XAP3, which optimises application code density to achieve significant memory cost savings.
The XAP3 soft core features a classic Von Neumann architecture allowing code and data to be freely mixed within a flat 4Gbyte memory space. There is hardware support for position independent code, and secure operation through privileged modes that prevent user programs from corrupting the operating system kernel. The core is available in Verilog RTL for ASIC use, and can be fabricated in 50,000 gates running at 100 MHz, or as few as 40,000 gates at lower clock frequencies. It delivers a typical performance of 0.88 Dhrystone MIPS/MHz. Combined with its high code density, this lean core offers an economic and power-efficient solution for deeply-embedded applications.
The porting of the Gnu Compiler Collection adds an industry-standard C programming environment to XAP3, as well as support for extra languages such as C++ and Java. Cambridge Consultants is also in the process of porting both the Micrium µC/OS-II - which will be released commercially in July 2005 - and uCLinux onto XAP3. These will provide development teams with powerful and economic real-time operating system support for projects.
"The 32-bit XAP3 core was designed to provide OEMs with an optimised platform for the increasing number of embedded systems that need to run a real time operating system with wired or wireless communications protocol stacks. It is both lean and efficient, yet offers a very large memory addressing range with unaligned memory support that will handle the most complex embedded system software requirements", says Alistair Morfey of Cambridge Consultants.
"These tools provide versatile support for large design projects, making it simple and quick to deliver sophisticated products utilising hundreds of man-years of software, incorporating components that are easily ported from third party source code", he adds.
In addition to the new tools, XAP3 is available with an integrated programming and development environment called xIDE for XAP3, comprising a compiler, linker, simulator, debugger and target hardware link. XAP3 developers also have access to Cambridge Consultants’ patented SIF (serial interface) debug logic and interface, which provides non-invasive data acquisition and event monitoring for real-time networked and remote debugging.
Cambridge Consultants is detailing the architecture of its new core at the Spring Processor Forum (17th May 2005, San Jose, California): 'XAP3: A New 32-Bit Processor Core with High Code Density' presented by Alistair Morfey, Technology Director, Cambridge Consultants.