Freescale, Altera Team on First Soft ColdFire Cores on FPGAs

To address the market need for highly custom semiconductor solutions, Freescale is introducing the first field programmable gate array (FPGA) implementation of the 32-bit V1 ColdFire® core on the Altera® Cyclone® III family of FPGAs. IPextreme, a semiconductor intellectual property (IP) licensing specialist, will license the V1 core to Cyclone III customers free of charge through its online Core Store[tm] marketplace.

The V1 ColdFire core license provides a flexible, cost-effective solution for engineers whose design challenges cannot be addressed by standard embedded processors and system-on-chip (SOC) devices. For example, an engineer may require additional custom logic or extra communications channels to complement what is available on a standard product. The V1 core is delivered as an Altera SOPC Builder-compatible core, making it very easy for hardware engineers to create system designs quickly by leveraging other SOPC Builder peripherals.

“The marriage of the V1 core and FPGAs gives embedded developers the best of both worlds – being able to add product differentiation without giving up a familiar, proven processor core and the ecosystem that supports that processor core,” said Aiden Mitchell, consumer and industrial product manager for Freescale’s Microcontroller Solutions Group. “Industry-leading software and tools are a critical part of the selection of a 32-bit core for use in an FPGA. With this V1 core licensing arrangement, Freescale’s ColdFire architecture brings more than 15 years of partnerships and software support to the FPGA market.”

The licensing of the ColdFire V1 core to Altera’s FPGA customers provides an additional entry point into Freescale’s Controller Continuum. The V1 core for Cyclone III FPGAs incorporates the same instruction set used in ColdFire MCUs based on Freescale’s V1 and V4 cores.

“Time to market and product differentiation are a critical balancing act for embedded system developers,” said Chris Balough, director of marketing for software, embedded and DSP at Altera. “Through the easy-to-use interface of the Altera SOPC Builder tool, developers using the Freescale V1 ColdFire core can now take advantage of the flexibility and functionality of the Altera Cyclone III FPGAs to quickly add new features to differentiate from the competition.”

Hardware designers will use the Altera Quartus® II design software and the SOPC Builder tool to create and integrate custom logic. Embedded software developers will be able to use the standard ColdFire development tools, including the CodeWarrior® software suite, to create applications. IPextreme will provide support to customers using the V1 core on Cyclone III FPGAs.

About the V1 ColdFire core
Optimized for entry-level 32-bit embedded applications, the V1 core provides an ideal entry point to 32-bit performance. The small-footprint V1 ColdFire core is designed to enhance system utilization, resulting in the lowest power consumption of any ColdFire MCU product to date, while offering more than ten times the performance of 8-bit MCUs. The V1 core features a two-stage instruction-fetch pipeline and two-stage operand-execution pipeline. Upward compatibility to other licensable ColdFire cores provides a smooth roadmap to higher performance designs.

About the Cyclone III FPGA
The low-cost Cyclone III FPGA family is the third generation in the Altera Cyclone series. With its combination of low power, high functionality and low cost, the Cyclone III FPGA family broadens the number of high-volume, cost-sensitive applications that can benefit from FPGAs. Built on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC’s) 65-nm low-power process technology, Cyclone III devices offer an optimal set of features to drive high-bandwidth parallel processing along with many other cost-sensitive and power-sensitive applications. The Cyclone III FPGA family offers a broad range of devices and package options to support a wide variety of cost-sensitive high-volume applications, such as automotive, consumer, industrial, military, video and image processing and wireless communications.

License pricing and availability
The complimentary V1 ColdFire core for Altera’s Cyclone III FPGA is planned to be available in the third quarter of 2008. IPextreme will license and support the V1 ColdFire core to Altera customers through the Core Store. Demonstration boards and reference designs with working examples for V1 core-based Altera FPGA solutions also are expected to be available in the third quarter.

Freescale plans to demonstrate an Altera FPGA solution based on the V1 core in the IPextreme booth at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando, June 16 – 19.

For more information about the ColdFire licensing program, visit www.freescale.com/files/pr/coldfirelicensing.html. To obtain a license to the V1 core from IPextreme, visit the Core Store at www.ip-extreme.com/corestore.

About the Freescale Technology Forum
Created to inspire innovation and collaboration, the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) has become the developer event of the year for the embedded semiconductor industry. The Forum, which debuted in 2005, has drawn nearly 20,000 attendees at FTF events worldwide since its inception. For more information about FTF events, go to www.freescale.com/ftf.

About Altera
Altera programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets.

About IPextreme, Inc.
IPextreme packages, delivers and supports famous IP designed by large semiconductor companies and used by SoC designers worldwide. These production-proven IP products serve both broad horizontal markets and specific verticals such as consumer and automotive, and are provided in a process-independent and EDA-neutral format for easy use by the widest range of customers. With a decade of experience in developing, packaging, licensing and supporting IP, IPextreme offers a complete business solution that allows semiconductor companies to strategically leverage their internal IP portfolio and expand overall revenue. The company has offices in Campbell, California; Munich, Germany; and Tokyo, Japan, with representatives in India, Israel, Korea and Taiwan.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion (USD).

Freescale and the Freescale logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.