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New version of Xilinx's MicroBlaze soft processor now available

Posted: 06 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:xilinx? microblaze? soft processor? risc core? virtex-4?

Xilinx Inc. has unveiled the 4.00 version of its MicroBlaze soft processor, which now operates at frequencies up to 200MHz in Virtex-4 fpgas, delivering a 25 percent increase in core performance compared to previous versions. The 32bit RISC core also features a new floating point unit (FPU) option that enables embedded developers to accelerate system performance by as much as 120 times over software emulation, said the company.

The MicroBlaze 4.00 solution is a scalable processor system that enables designers to tune performance to match the compute requirements of target applications and choose greater mathematical accuracy when needed without a significant cost penalty. The enhanced feature set also raises the bar for flexibility and ease of use with user-configurable hardware options, improved debug capabilities, and complete backward compatibility with earlier releases, Xilinx said.

The 32bit single precision, IEEE-754 compatible MicroBlaze FPU provides designers with a processor tailored to execute both integer and floating-point operations. All FPU operations are enabled through the standard programming model with full compiler, design tool and instruction-set simulator support.

Other features

The new version also offers a host of ready-to-use, pre-built configuration options. These include new pattern-compare instructions for faster location of string, byte or word matches, which are particularly useful with data-intensive multimedia applications. User selectable features such as the configurable hardware multipliers, divider unit, and cache links can now be disabled when not needed to save critical logic resources.

In addition, new debug instructions can be inserted into the processor pipeline to make data more accessible and 15 times faster to download for hardware debug, while also reducing overall debug logic by 50 percent.

The MicroBlaze soft processor core is available as part of the company's Embedded Development Kit (EDK) priced at $495. In addition to the MicroBlaze core, the EDK includes a comprehensive set of system tools to design an embedded application in a Xilinx FPGA. The VHDL source code for the MicroBlaze core is also available for purchase.

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