Delivering on its strategy to support embedded systems designers with a comprehensive portfolio of processor solutions, Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) introduced two free controller cores; the small, easy-to-use CoreABC and the configurable Core8051s. These cores complement the company’s existing library of industry-standard options, including a variety of ARM, 8051 and LEON processor solutions, optimized for Actel’s field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). In addition to third-party tools and capabilities, Actel also offers a comprehensive development environment, boards and reference designs to support its processor offerings. This ecosystem of tools and support enable Actel customers to get system-level products to market quickly and reduce cost and risk.
“The abundance of software and support available for industry-standard architectures eliminates the pain typically associated with adopting proprietary technologies,” said Rich Brossart, vice president, product marketing at Actel. “Our growing processor portfolio enables embedded systems designers to select the best processor for their application and combine it with the core benefits offered by Actel’s flash-based FPGAs — ease of design, reprogrammability, and reduced development cost and risk.”
Brossart continued, “Moving forward, we plan to continue the development of optimized processor solutions based on industry-standard architectures, enabling customers to further exploit the processors and tools they are familiar with when using Actel’s innovative FPGAs.”
Actel Expands Processor Library with Free, Easy-to-Use Cores
A powerful and easy-to-use solution for a broad range of embedded control applications, Actel’s CoreABC is the industry’s smallest and first RTL- programmable soft micro for FPGAs. The free controller features deterministic operation, very fast I/O response (less than 100 nanoseconds) and supports the advanced peripheral bus (APB) interface. Designers are able to use CoreABC in small Actel devices, such as the flash-based, low-cost A3P030 ProASIC3 device, because the free controller can be implemented in as few as 241 tiles and used without RAM or ROM resources. Implementation starts at less than 10 cents per instantiation.
Compatible with the industry-standard 8051 ASM51 instruction set, Core8051s allows designers to take advantage of the vast array of existing industry tools, knowledge and application software for the 8051 architecture. The controller, a higher performance version of the company’s popular Core8051, features one clock per instruction throughput and supports a range of configurable peripheral functions. Core8051s connects to the APB bus for easy integration with other APB peripherals using Actel’s CoreConsole tool.
Software, Support Critical to Design Success
To support its broad portfolio of processor solutions, Actel delivers a comprehensive development environment, including the Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE), CoreConsole IP deployment platform, and SoftConsole software program development environment, as well as boards and reference designs. The processor cores are also supported by third-party tools and capabilities — from highly efficient C-compilers and co-verification solutions to advanced hardware acceleration. Key partners and third-party suppliers include Aldec, CriticalBlue, IAR, ImpulseC, and Keil.
Like all Actel processors, the two new free cores operate with the industry-standard AMBA bus interface enabling flexible, cost-effective system-on-chip (SoC) solutions across a broad range of markets and applications. Intellectual property (IP) vendors worldwide support the AMBA bus with a large number of peripheral IP cores, enabling designers to find and implement the specific functional elements needed for their embedded designs.
Pricing and Availability
Actel’s DirectCore processors, including the new CoreABC and Core8051s, are available free of charge via Actel’s CoreConsole software. The cores can be used in Actel single-chip FPGAs, including the Actel Fusion(TM), IGLOO(TM) and ProASIC3(TM) families. The fault-tolerant LEON3 processor core, optimized for Actel’s military, aerospace and high-reliability customers, is available from Actel’s CompanionCore partner Gaisler Research.
Actel Corporation is the leader in single-chip FPGA solutions. The company is traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, Calif., 94043-4655. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835).
The Actel, Actel Libero, Actel IGLOO, Actel ProASIC3 and Actel Fusion names and logos are trademarks of Actel Corporation.