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Itching to play with the open-source RISC-V processor? Here are three Xilinx-based kits to start with

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
0 0 54.9K

 

RISC-V (pronounced “risk five”) is an open, 32/64-bit RISC microprocessor architecture first developed at the Computer Science Division of the EECS Department at the U. of California, Berkeley. Now it’s managed by the RISC-V Foundation. If you are an aficionado of processor architectures and you’re looking to get your feet wet with the RISC-V architecture, SiFive has released three Freedom FPGA Platforms based on Xilinx All Programmable devices that allow you to start working with the RISC-V ISA immediately. The three Xilinx-based SiFive Freedom Platform kits are:

 

 

 

 

Xilinx VC707.jpg

 

Xilinx VC707 Eval Kit

 

 

  • The Freedom U500 Arty FPGA Dev Kit: Based on the Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA and the $99 Digilent ARTY Dev Board. Allows you to work with SiFive’s 64-bit U5 Coreplex implementation of the RISC-V ISA. Does not include high-speed serial ports.

 

 

ARTY Board v2.jpg

 

 

$99 Digilent ARTY Dev Board

 

 

  • The Freedom U300 Arty FPGA Dev Kit: Based on the Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA and the $99 ARTY Dev Kit. Allows you to work with SiFive’s 32-bit E31 Coreplex implementation of the RISC-V ISA. Does not include high-speed serial ports.

 

SiFive is a new fabless semiconductor company and one of the intents of the entire RISC-V exercise is to create an open-source chip platform so that you can develop your own SoCs. As usually happens, the first step is to become familiar with the processor architecture. FPGAs—as usual—serve as excellent implementation vehicles for the RISC-V HDL code until there are ASICs available.

 

Not planning on developing your own SoC anytime soon? Take a look at the Xilinx Zynq-7000 SoC and the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. With their monolithic combinations of two to six ARM 32- and 64-bit processors and Xilinx programmable logic, they are both excellent ways to go beyond prototyping and to start shipping systems as early as tomorrow. (Today if you’re really aggressive.) And, if you really, really want a RISC-V processor, you can instantiate the processor’s HDL code in the Zynq SoC’s or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC’s on-chip programmable logic.

 

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