Microchip delivers first SoC FPGA development kit based on RISC-V ISA

Claimed to be the first SoC FPGA development kit based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). The PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle kit enables the broad RISC-V-based Mi-V ecosystem for PolarFire, claimed to be the industry’s lowest-power FPGA.

Adoption of the free and open RISC-V ISA is driving the need for an affordable, standardised development platform. The Icicle development kit for Microchip’s PolarFire SoC FPGAs brings together Mi-V partners to accelerate customer design and deployment across a variety of industries.

Designers who want to deploy a programmable RISC-V-based SOC FPGA can use the kit to start development and to evaluate the broad network of RISC-V ecosystem products such as real time operating systems (RTOS), debuggers, compilers, system on modules (SoMs) and security solutions.

The Mi-V RISC-V Partner ecosystem is a continuously expanding suite of tools and design resources developed by Microchip and third parties to support RISC-V designs.

Bruce Weyer, vice president of the FPGA business unit at Microchip, commented: “We are removing barriers to entry through a low-cost evaluation platform that will give embedded engineers, software designers and hardware developers a vehicle to implement designs that leverage the benefits of the open RISC-V ISA combined with Microchip’s . . . form factors, thermals and low-power characteristics of PolarFire SoC FPGAs”.

Microchip’s Icicle kit for PolarFire SoC and Mi-V ecosystem enables PolarFire SoC FPGAs with a RISC-V processor from SiFive and embedded trace macro from UltraSoC. There are also development tools from Adacore, Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics and Wind River and commercial RTOS solutions such as Nucleus and VxWorks that complement Microchip’s Linux and bare-metal solutions.

Addressing middleware there are offerings from DornerWorks, Hex Five, Veridify Security and wolfSSL and there are SoM and design services from companies like Antmicro, Aries Embedded, Digital Core Technologies, Emdalo Technologies, Sundance DSP, and Trenz Electronic

For the latest list of Mi-V partners, visit Microchip’s Mi-V Partner Ecosystem web page.

The Icicle kit is based around a 250k logic element (LE) PolarFire SoC device and includes a PCIe connector, mikroBUS socket, dual RJ45 connector, Micro-USB connector, CAN bus connector, Raspberry Pi header, JTAG port and SD Card interfaces. The board is supported by Microchip’s designed, validated and tested power management and clocking devices, an Ethernet PHY (VSC8662XIC), USB controller (USB3340-EZK-TR) and current sensors (PAC1934T-I/JQ).

PolarFire SoC FPGAs deliver up to 50 per cent lower total power than competing devices, claims Microchip. SoC FPGAs also allow developers greater opportunities for customisation and differentiation through upgradability and ability to integrate functions on a single chip.

The PolarFire SoC FPGA family is available in a variety of packages and sizes to match the performance and power trade offs for the application, enabling customers to implement their solutions in package sizes as small as 11 x 11mm.

Microchip’s Icicle kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs is suitable for smart embedded imaging, IoT, industrial automation, defence, automotive and communication applications.


Microchip’s Icicle kit for PolarFire SoC FPGAs (MPFS-ICICLE-KIT-ES) is available today. PolarFire FPGAs are in production today with early samples of the SoC FPGA available now.


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