New board based on a Spartan-6 FPGA and extendable with Arduino Due-compatible shields enables faster time-to-market for SoC developers using Cortus processor cores.
Montpellier, France, 3rd June 2015 – Cortus, a technology leader in low-power, silicon-efficient, 32-bit processor IP, announced the availability of a Development Platform for Cortus’ APS processor cores today. The Cortus Development Platform comprises a board based on a Xilinx Spartan-6X75, the Cortus Eclipse IDE and Cortus GCC toolchain. The board includes an I/O footprint compatible with the Arduino Due enabling the wide choice of Arduino Due-compatible shields to be used to extend the platform.
Software development is a major part of the development of a system-on-chip (SoC) or an ASIC with an embedded processor. Cortus 32-bit processor IP cores have been designed from the outset for embedded processing applications based on coding in C or C++. The APS cores are a volume-proven basis for a wide range of applications including smartcards, video processing, smart sensors, touchscreen controllers, wireless, security, industrial control and Internet of Things (IoT). The new platform enables software developers to rapidly develop drivers and to integrate software and hardware before the SoC design is prototyped.
The Cortus FPGA board is based on the Xilinx Spartan-6 X75 and includes 1 Mbyte synchronous SRAM as well as a 32 Mbit SPI flash memory. The flash memory holds the FPGA configuration and can also be shared to hold the application software. A 10/100 Mbits/s Ethernet transceiver PHY is connected directly to the FPGA and is fully compatible with the Cortus 10/100 Ethernet MAC IP block. A USB interface provides a JTAG interface fully compatible with Cortus development tools under Windows and Linux. Additional I/O connectors enable the DDR2 memory to be up to 512 Mbytes.
“Developing drivers, porting software and validating the HW/SW interface is one of the key time-to-market challenges of developing SoCs with embedded processors”, said Mr. Christopher Kopetzky, Vice President of Engineering at Cortus. He adds, “The new platform combines Cortus’ proven SW development tools with the ability to extend the board through Arduino Due-compatible shields and DDR2 memory.”
With an APS23 requiring 19% utilisation and APS25 requiring 29% utilisation the Cortus platform provides ample capacity for all APS cores. The capacity of the Spartan-6 X75 is sufficient to allow multi-core systems to be emulated on the FPGA board. The ability to extend the memory can be used to include a USB 2.0 PHY in combination with a Cortus USB 2.0 controller in order to create a prototyping platform for embedded Linux systems. Furthermore the platform can incorporate IDEs from Cortus’ partners as an alternative to Cortus Eclipse.
Cortus licenses a range of low power, silicon efficient, 32-bit processor cores supporting a range computational performance and supporting different system complexity. The cores start from entry-level 32-bit cores suitable for upgrading 8-bit cores to cores supporting caches, co-processors and symmetric multiprocessing systems. They share the simple vectored interrupt structure, which ensures rapid, real time interrupt response, with low software overhead.
All APS processor cores interface to Cortus’ peripherals including Ethernet 10/100 MAC, USB 2.0 Device and USB 2.0 OTG via the efficient APS bus. The Ethernet MAC allows the chosen physical interface to be connected using either the Medium Independent Interface (MII) or Reduced Medium Independent Interface (RMII). Flexible memory interfaces with two independent DMA channels enable system design to ensure low CPU overhead reception and transmission without any danger of frames being lost. Hardware address filtering enables a single interface to respond to multiple MAC addresses.
Cortus will be exhibiting at the 52nd Design Automation Conference (DAC) in San Francisco, California from 8-10th June 2015 at Booth #2503
About Cortus S.A.S.:
Cortus S.A.S. is a technology enabler for rapidly growing applications including Internet of Things (IoT), wearable electronic devices, smart sensors and security. It has specialised in 32-bit processor cores which can significantly reduce manufacturing costs while achieving computational performance and power constraints. Over 700 million devices containing Cortus cores are used in a wide range of applications including automotive, CMOS imaging, M2M controllers, secure execution, sensors, SIM cards, PayTV cards, touchscreen controllers, smart metering and wireless. Cortus’ headquarters are in Montpellier, France