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Actel develops controller cores optimised for FPGAs

Posted: 07 Feb 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Actel  controller cores  CoreABC  Core8051s 

Delivering on its strategy to support embedded systems designers with a comprehensive portfolio of processor solutions, Actel Corp. has 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, optimised for Actel's field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). In addition to third-party tools and capabilities, the company also offers a comprehensive development environment, boards and reference designs to support its processor offerings. This ecosystem of tools and support enable customers to get system-level products to market quickly and reduce cost and risk.

The CoreABC is the smallest and first RTL-programmable soft micro for FPGAs. The free controller features deterministic operation, 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.

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 highly configurable 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.

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 free cores operate with the industry-standard AMBA bus interface enabling flexible, cost-effective 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.

Actel's DirectCore processors, including the 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, IGLOO and ProASIC3 families. The fault-tolerant LEON3 processor core, optimised for Actel's military, aerospace and high-reliability customers, is available from Actel's CompanionCore partner Gaisler Research.

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