FPGA CPU News of January 2002


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Sunday, January 27, 2002
New Free CPU cores
At OpenCores.org's microprocessor site are several new CPU cores, most with FPGA implementations.

[updated 02/14/02]

  1. Mike Johnson's RISC5x, "A small RISC CPU (written in VHDL) that is compatible with the 12 bit opcode PIC family". (Announcement). Stated peformance of 40 MHz in a XCVxE-8, in 110 Virtex CLBs.

  2. Imhof Manuel's RISC_Core_I, "a 4 stage 16-Bit RISC processor system on chip designed for a Xilinx Virtex FPGA". His diploma paper (PDF, German) project.

  3. Sam Gladstone, Bob Hoffman, and Nate Gregoire's SXP (Simple eXtensible Pipeline) Processor, an extensible "32 bit pipelined processor with design goals of speed, small size and flexibility".

Junko Yoshida and Anthony Cataldo, EE Times: Shakeout looms for IP startups. '"In 2001, every single one of our licensees in [OC-768] canceled their project..."'; "Java accelerators and coprocessors are a market ripe for consolidation."

Margaret Quan, EE Times: Startup to license ARM-compatible core. On Synthesized Logic, LLC's ARM "compatible" soft core.

"The core is unique in its ability to synthesize well for both FPGAs and ASICs, the founders said. This way, engineers can use an FPGA to build a prototype and products and get to market two to three months faster than if they used an ASIC-based prototype, Mock said. The core has greater configuration flexibility and will be cheaper than ARM Ltd.'s core, he said."
Some upcoming conferences
What's new?
Not much, lately. I just installed NetBSD on an old VAXstation 4000/60, a standalone PC, and in a VMWare virtual machine. So far I have been very impressed with NetBSD. Compared to (sprawling) Linux, it is clean and austere. It supports dozens of very-different architectures with aplomb. I admire NetBSD's packages system for painlessly fetching and building thousands of packages from source code archives. Someday it would be fun to get NetBSD running on an original FPGA-based instruction set architecture. Once again the big gating factor is producing a port of GCC, GDB, binutils, and runtime libraries...

Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Xilinx rolls out the 0.18 micron 1.8V CoolRunner-II. Press release. Backgrounder. FAQ. XAPP376: Understanding the CoolRunner-II Logic Engine.

Anthony Cataldo, EE Times: Xilinx axes analog to cool CPLD power consumption. '"When you get to 1.5 volts, there's nothing left between the n- and p-channel thresholds."'

Xilinx: Insight Electronics Offers CoolRunner-II Development Kit. Insight: CoolRunner-II Development Kit. $95.

[updated 01/27/02]
Murray Disman, ChipCenter: Xilinx Announces CoolRunner-II.

ARM and picoTurbo, Inc. Settle Patent Lawsuit: "Under the terms of the settlement, picoTurbo acknowledges the validity and enforceability of ARM's patents ... " Q&A (PDF).

Alex Romanelli, Electronic News Online: ARM, picoTurbo Settle Patent Suit: "The hearing never got off the ground as the lawyers privately conferred with the judge, who then took the hearing permanently off the record."

Semiconductor Business News: ARM gains access to picoTurbo's RISC customers in suit settlement.

MIPS Technologies and Lexra Resolve Lawsuit. "Under the terms of the license agreement, Lexra acknowledges the validity and enforceability of MIPS Technologies patents."

Chris Edwards, EE Times: Lexra quits IP cores business in deal with MIPS.

Semiconductor Business News: MIPS to take $2 million charge for acquiring Lexra's R&D.

[09/20/01] Will Wade, EE Times: Lexra to move for dismissal of MIPS patent suit.

FPGA CPU News, Vol. 3, No. 1
Back issues: Vol. 2 (2001): Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec; Vol. 1 (2000): Apr Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec.
Opinions expressed herein are those of Jan Gray, President, Gray Research LLC.

Copyright © 2000-2002, Gray Research LLC. All rights reserved.
Last updated: Mar 02 2002