Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Synopsys intros starter kit for DesignWare ARC EM processors

USA: Synopsys Inc. announced the availability of the DesignWare ARC EM Starter Kit for the ARC EM family of embedded processor cores.

The DesignWare ARC EM4 and ARC EM6 processor cores are optimized for use in embedded and deeply embedded applications such as sensors, storage devices, appliances, consumer electronics, and battery-operated devices where high performance, small size and minimal power consumption are essential.

The EM Starter Kit provides a platform for rapid software development and code porting, as well as software debugging and system analysis for the ARC EM processors. It is also used for application and product prototyping and demos. The kit is ready for use "out-of-the-box" and enables designers to immediately begin writing code for their design.

The ARC EM Starter Kit includes a base board and daughter card. The daughter card features a Xilinx Spartan®-6 LX45 FPGA, an on-board 125 MHz clock generator, 128 MB of DDR3 memory and 16 MB of flash memory. The flash memory supports the storage of application software and contains four pre-installed ARC EM processor core bit files that can be selected with a dual in-line package (DIP) switch.

The base board allows multiple connectivity and configurable I/O options, making it easy to add circuitry and build subsystems around the EM processors. This quick and easy system configuration capability enables software development prior to final SoC hardware availability.

Example code, peripheral drivers and an MQX RTOS binary are available for the kit. A Secure Digital (SD) card slot on the base board offers additional application software and data storage. The kit also includes a Digilent Pmod Compatible board featuring an I2C 4-channel 12-bit A/D converter, an AC power adapter and a mini-USB cable.

"The combination of high performance, low power and small footprint of the DesignWare ARC EM4 processor made it ideally suited for our connectivity products," said Michael Mo, senior director of product marketing at Amlogic. "Synopsys' ARC EM Starter Kit offers a low-cost hardware platform that enables designers to quickly explore attributes of the EM cores and get an early start on the development of features that will differentiate their ARC-based designs."

The DesignWare ARC EM4 and EM6 processor cores are based on the ARCv2 instruction set architecture (ISA) and are characterized by their very small size and low power consumption, delivering up to twice the performance per milliwatt and per square millimeter as other processor cores in their class.

Because of their performance efficiency, EM processors are often implemented alongside a high-performance CPU to offload tasks from the host processor and improve the overall efficiency of the chip. The cores are highly configurable so they can be optimized for each instance on a SoC, sharing a common programming model to simplify software development and task partitioning. The ARC EM4 core's small size (less than 10K gates) makes it ideal for applications such as sensors and actuators, deeply embedded processing and battery-operated products where power consumption and size must be kept to a minimum without compromising performance.

The ARC EM6 processor core adds support for up to 32K of instruction and data cache. Both cores feature native ARM AMBA AHB and AHB-Lite interfaces, as well as BVCI interfaces to enable high system throughput. The ARC EM4 and EM6 processors deliver industry-leading performance efficiency of up to 1.71 DMIPS/MHz and can achieve speeds of over 800 MHz in a 28-nm process.

The EM Family of processor cores is supported by a complete suite of development tools, including the ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit that generates highly efficient code ideal for deeply embedded applications, ARC simulators including nSIM and xCAM, and the ARChitect core configuration tool.

"With each new generation of electronic devices, we see demand for processors with greater performance with lower power coupled with narrowing time-to-market windows," said John Koeter, VP of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys. "The DesignWare ARC EM family offers customers doing embedded designs higher performance efficiency and more compact footprints than ever before. The EM Starter Kit makes it possible for them to start software development earlier so they can meet their design goals and still get their products to market quickly."

The DesignWare ARC EM Starter Kit, ARC EM4 and ARC EM6 processor cores and associated development tools are available now.

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