Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit

Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit

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Microchip’s PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit is an evaluation platform for the company’s mid-range PolarFire SoC FPGA family, a portfolio of RISC-V-based devices that contain secure hardware features, are capable of running off-the-shelf Linux and/or real-time operating systems (RTOS), and consume up to 60 percent less power than competing FPGA solutions, according to the company.

The SoC FPGA onboard the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Kit, the MPFS250T-FCVG484EES, contains 254k logic elements with a four-input lookup table (LUT) and D-type flip-flop, 784 18×18 multiply accumulate (MACC) blocks, a five-core RISC-V CPU subsystem from SiFive, and 2 MB of L2 cache memory with support for deterministic modes (Figure 1). Data can also be stored off-chip in either a 2 GB LPDDR4, 1 Gb SPI flash, or 8 GB eMMC flash (muxed with an SD card slot) onboard the PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle.

The RISC-V processor complex includes a 64-bit RISC-V monitor core with secure boot functionality alongside four 64-bit RISC-V application cores that connect to a coherency switch and then onto the memory subsystem. The coherent switch connects to a memory-protected and QoS-enabled AMBA switch over the AXI interface, and then on to the PolarFire FPGA fabric.

In terms of signals on the Icicle board itself, users will find a variety of interfaces and expansion ports for easy system integration and rapid prototyping, including:

The I²C interface connects to a Microchip PAC1934T-I/JQ PMIC that performs FPGA and DDR power rail sensing. Meanwhile, an onboard JTAG connector and FlashPro6 programmer (onboard for production kits, external for prototyping kits) provide developers with direct debug access and an onramp to 52 test points.

GPIOs connect to User and Power LEDs, as well as a set of four pushbuttons.

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