Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today announced immediate availability of the latest performance-optimized 5.00 version of its MicroBlaze(TM) soft processor. The 32-bit RISC core now delivers a 45 percent increase in integer performance providing 240 DMIPS in Virtex(TM)-5 FPGAs. The core extends floating point performance to 50 MFLOPS, a 50 percent improvement over previous versions.
The Xilinx MicroBlaze 5.00 solution meets customers embedded processing demands for flexibility and higher performance via a scalable processor system that enables designers to tune performance to match the compute requirements of their target applications. The enhanced feature set is offered while maintaining backward instruction set compatibility to preserve previous software investments and avoid obsolescence. Xilinx will present the MicroBlaze 5.00 processor enhancements for the first time this week during the Fall Microprocessor Forum held October 9-11 in San Jose, Calif.
“Xilinx continues to build on their embedded processing leadership through technology innovation and design flexibility, which our surveys indicate are essential for cutting-edge technology companies,” said Dr. Jerry Krasner, chief analyst for Embedded Market Forecasters. “According to our May 2006 EMF survey, developers plan to use Xilinx platform FPGAs – with either MicroBlaze or PowerPC processor cores – over its nearest competitor by more than a 40 percent margin.”
MicroBlaze 5.00 Features
The MicroBlaze 5.00 soft processor is built on the award winning success of the previous MicroBlaze 4.00 while maintaining instruction set backward compatibility. To meet the demand for more performance, Xilinx engineers increased the MicroBlaze 5.00 core clock frequency and optimized its pipeline efficiency with an enhanced 5-stage pipeline. The processor core was developed for the 65nm Virtex-5 family – which uses the new ultra-fast ExpressFabric(TM) technology, proven ASMBL(TM) architecture and low-power triple-oxide technology – and operates at 210MHz offering 240 DMIPs of performance.
MicroBlaze 5.00 has pre-built and verified “ready to use” configuration options that enable developers to jump start their embedded processing designs or customize their processor. Included are configurable cache line size options of 4 or 8 words to tune performance with applications needs. The cache sizes are individually configurable for instruction and data caches to optimally use internal FPGA BRAM resources. The processor also includes new instructions that are particularly useful with data-intensive multimedia applications. These include pattern compares and MSRSET/CLR that are available by default for optimized string searches. Additionally, a new Processor Version Register (PVR) was added to enable multi-processing applications. The processor’s user selectable features can be disabled (when not required) to save critical logic resources. The MicroBlaze 5.00 builds on the popular features offered in the award-winning MicroBlaze 4.00, such as the tightly-coupled floating point unit, configurable hardware multipliers, divider unit, and cache links.
Complete Development Environment
The Xilinx award winning Platform Studio provides a common fully integrated hardware/software development environment that supports the complete range of Xilinx processor solutions. It enables designers to easily develop, integrate and debug their entire embedded system. The Platform Studio tool suite is part of the Xilinx Embedded Development Kit (EDK), a complete embedded development solution that includes a library of peripheral IP cores, an integrated Eclipse software development environment, GNU compiler and debugger.
In addition, Xilinx provides an extensive offering of reference designs, development boards, internal and third-party tools, and the most widely-used operating systems to choose from. A variety of Xilinx embedded design services, training and support are also available to further ensure first-time design success with any processing solution challenge.
Pricing & Availability
The MicroBlaze 5.00 soft processor core is royalty free and is licensed as part of the Xilinx EDK U.S. list priced at $495. In addition to the MicroBlaze processor core, the EDK includes a comprehensive set of system tools to design an embedded application in a Xilinx FPGA. For more information on MicroBlaze processor and the EDK from Xilinx, go online.
Xilinx, Inc. is the worldwide leader of programmable logic solutions.