Design Tool for ARM-Based SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA Designs

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Users of Microsemi SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs now have available a newly released design tool, System Builder. System Builder is a tool within the Libero System-on-Chip (SoC) Design Environment version 11.0 and is specifically targeted at accelerating customer definition and implementation of ARM-based systems using SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs.

The output from System Builder is automatically generated and correct-by-construction, thus eliminating the errors that are created when the architecture is specified “by hand” as in more traditional tool flows. Thus, System Builder dramatically shortens the design cycle time for complex SoC FPGAs.

Additionally, software-oriented engineers can easily create an embedded architecture and begin code development all on their own. This simplifies the adoption of Microsemi SmartFusion2 devices and provides a much broader set of design engineers with access to SoC FPGA technology. The enhanced System Builder flow also enables Microsemi to easily support more customers with its internal design services team that offers digital or mixed signal design for custom functional blocks, Soft IP, firmware development and even complete designs to end customers.

System Builder users are guided step-by-step through each of the main SoC FPGA architecture blocks. The design process uses a high-level graphical interface that reacts to previous architecture selections and guides the user through the process of selecting options and configuring only the required embedded system blocks. The resulting system specification is automatically generated and correct-by-construction. It includes both the configuration and interconnects of the ARM processor and its related peripherals as well as other IP blocks implemented in the FPGA fabric. System Builder can also configure a growing set of IP blocks for high-performance interfaces including DDR2/DDR3/LPDDR memory controllers, and serial interfaces using 5Gbit/s SERDES for PCIe, XAUI (10 GbE) and SGMII.

Libero SoC integrates synthesis, debug and DSP support from Synopsys, and simulation from Mentor Graphics with power analysis, timing analysis and push button design flow. Firmware development is fully integrated into Libero SoC with compile and debug available from GNU, IAR and Keil, and all device drivers and peripheral initialization are automatically generated based on System Builder selections. The ARM Cortex-M3 processor includes operating system support for embedded Linux from EmCraft Systems, FreeRTOS, SAFERTOS and uc/OS-III from Micrium.

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