Industry’s first SoC FPGA development kit based on the RISC-V ISA now available

16 September 2020

Microchip_Industry’s first SoC FPGA development kit based on the RISC-V ISA_Icicle Kit for PolarFire_580x280

Microchip’s PolarFire® SoC FPGA Icicle Kit enables the broad RISC-V-based Mi-V ecosystem for the industry’s lowest-power FPGA.

The rising adoption of the free and open source RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is driving the need for an affordable, standardised development platform that embeds RISC-V technology and leverages the diverse RISC-V ecosystem. To meet this need, Microchip Technology is offering the industry’s first RISC-V based System on Chip (SoC) Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) development kit for PolarFire SoC FPGA – the industry-leading low-power, low-cost, RISC-V-based SoC FPGA. Microchip’s Icicle Development Kit for PolarFire (SoC) FPGAs brings together numerous Mi-V partners to accelerate customer design deployment and commercial adoption across a variety of industries.

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 numerous third parties to fully support RISC-V designs.

Microchip is enabling an unprecedented transformation in processor design as the market embraces RISC-V software and silicon,” said Bruce Weyer, Vice President of the Field-Programmable Gate Array business unit at Microchip. “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.

It's exciting to see a low-power RISC-V board for under $500,” said David Patterson, Vice-Chair of the RISC-V International board of directors and 2017 Turing Award winner. “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.

Microchip’s Icicle Kit for PolarFire SoC and Mi-V ecosystem 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 organisations such as Antmicro, ARIES Embedded, Digital Core Technologies, Emdalo Technologies, Sundance DSP and Trenz Electronic

For the latest list of Mi-V partners, visit Microchip’s Mi-V Partner Ecosystem hub.

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).

PolarFire SoC FPGAs deliver up to 50% lower total power than competing devices. By using SoC FPGAs, developers also have greater opportunities for customisation and differentiation through the devices’ inherent upgradability and ability to integrate functions on a single chip. 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, defence, automotive and communication applications.

Microchip’s Icicle Kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs (MPFS-ICICLE-KIT-ES) is available today, starting at $489.00. PolarFire FPGAs are in production, with early samples of the SoC FPGA available now.

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