SUNNYVALE, Calif. Prototyping boards that allow both hardware emulation and early software development have been released by Oki Semiconductor and Lexra Inc. Boards from both companies are intended to speed time-to-silicon for complex system-on-chip (SoC) designs.
The Oki µPlat Prototyping System supports the vendor's µPlat architecture, which was introduced in early 2000. The µPlat architecture is a platform-based design product that uses an ARM7 processor and Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture.
The Prototyping System includes a board with an evaluation chip, memory, Amba AHB bus interface and FPGAs for user logic and intellectual-property (IP) blocks. It comes with an ARM-based Software Development Toolkit (SDK) and a Verilog testbench for hardware-description language simulation.
"What the board allows you to do is develop software while the chip is being fabbed," said Fre d Camp, Oki director of marketing. "You can do things in parallel, so that by the time you get silicon, you're off and running." Further, he noted, the board's AHB bus support allows designers to plug in IP blocks and run hardware emulation.
At the core
At the heart of the board is a µPlat evaluation chip. It contains a 32-bit ARM7TDMI RISC core, an 8-kbyte unified cache, an external memory controller (XMC), timers, an interrupt controller, a serial interface and power-management features. The evaluation chip also includes such IP blocks as a USB controller, a 16-bit parallel I/O port and a UART.
XMC expansion devices support the addition of 16 Mbytes of synchronous DRAM, 8 Mbytes of flash ROM, 2 Mbytes of low-power SRAM and a 16-Mbyte PCMCIA host adapter. The board also includes expansion controllers for the AHB and APB bus standards, a clock generator, a power-supply generator and configuration switches.
User logic can be loaded into one of two Xilinx FPGAs on the board, and designers can plug in an additional board with more FPGAs. Camp said that users should be able to emulate a two- to three-million-gate system. The processor runs at 60 MHz, but the FPGAs probably won't run that fast, he acknowledged. "If it's not a real high-performance function and FPGAs can handle the speed, we can actually do a full-speed emulation of the system," Camp said.
The SDT includes ARM compilers and debuggers along with a behavioral model of the µPlat core. Real-time operating system support includes the Japanese Itron RTOS, with Wind River VxWorks support slated for April. The Prototyping System is available now for $5,000.
Meanwhile, microprocessor IP provider Lexra is releasing the second generation of its prototyping board. The LX-PBK20K hardware/software development board lets users place a lot more of their own logic on the board than Lexra's previous offering did, said Charlie Cheng, Lexra president and chief e xecutive officer.
The board includes as many as four Altera 20K1500 devices. This will probably allow emulation of a million-gate system, Cheng said. An ASIC test chip can include one or more Lexra processors, various memory configurations, a coprocessor interface, L-Bus (Lexra bus) devices and custom logic. While the test chip can run as fast as 200 MHz, Cheng said, the board itself will probably top out around 35 or 40 MHz.
The board supports the EDB source-level debugger and Majicplus emulator from Embedded Performance Inc., along with the Multi source-level debugger from Green Hills Software. RTOS support includes VxWorks, Nucleus and Threadx.
The board accommodates additional EPROM, SDRAM and standard I/Os. The LX-PB20K sells for $7,500 without programmable-logic devices.