Microchip looks to leverage RISC-V ISA

1 min read

With the news that Arm is likely to be bought by Nvidia, there is undoubtedly going to be growing interest in the adoption of the free and open RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA).

With the need for an affordable, standardised development platform that embeds RISC-V technology and leverages its diverse ecosystem, Microchip has announced that it is now offering the first RISC-V based System on Chip (SoC) Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) development kit for the PolarFire 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 number of industries.

Designers who want to deploy a programmable RISC-V-based SOC FPGA will be 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 continuing to expand, and Microchip and numerous third parties have developed a comprehensive suite of tools and design resources to fully support RISC-V designs.

“Microchip is enabling a 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.”

“Microchip’s Icicle Kit, with an embedded PolarFire SoC, will accelerate advances in the RISC-V software ecosystem and will be a boon to applications that need a low-power mid-range SoC FPGA,” said David Patterson, vice-chair of the RISC-V International board of directors.

The Icicle Kit is centred 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).