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RTOS support rolls for PowerPC 440 core on Virtex-5 FPGA

Posted: 29 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Virtex-5 FPGA? royalty-free RTOS? RISC CPU processor?

The folks at Express Logic, supplier of royalty-free RTOS, and Avnet Electronics Marketing say that the ThreadX RTOS now supports the PowerPC 440 processor embedded in Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs.

The IBM PowerPC 440 core is a hard 32bit RISC CPU processor immersed directly into the Xilinx Virtex FPGA fabric to implement high-performance embedded applications. The combination of the hard PowerPC 440 processor with co-processing capability and high-performance Virtex-5 FPGA fabric enables a wide range of performance optimization options.

ThreadX support for the PowerPC440 processor on Virtex-5 FXT FPGAs was jointly developed with Avnet Electronics Marketing, resulting in its availability for the Avnet Virtex-5 FX30T Evaluation Kit as well as the Xilinx Virtex-5 FX70T Embedded Kit (ML507 board). Express Logic, a member of the Xilinx Alliance Embedded Program, first announced ThreadX support for the Xilinx MicroBlaze soft processor core and PowerPC 405 in 2003. Developers can now use ThreadX on either MicroBlaze, PowerPC405 or PowerPC440 architectures, allowing them to optimize their processor choice based on their ThreadX-supported application requirements.

Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS provides real-time embedded developers who use Xilinx FPGA solutions with the most technically advanced multitasking solution on the market today. Express Logic's picokernel design results in very high-performance and extremely small memory requirementsas small as 3Kbytes to meet extreme size constraints. ThreadX also provides applications using Xilinx's PowerPC embedded processor cores with significant technical innovations, including extremely fast software timers and a mechanism to help reduce context switching called preemption-threshold. ThreadX is claimed to be the smallest, fastest, lowest cost commercial RTOS addressing deeply embedded applications in consumer electronics, medical devices, automotive electronics, and industrial control. ThreadX is also royalty-free, making it ideal for high-volume products where manufacturing cost must be held to an absolute minimum.

The full suite of Express Logic offerings can now be used by Virtex-5 embedded PowerPC 440 users, including the NetX Duo IPv4/IPv6 dual-stack TCP/IP network stack, FileX file management system, and PegX graphics development toolkit. With NetX Duo, advanced networked devices can be developed that combine the power of the PowerPC 440 and the high-performance networking hardware on the Virtex-5 FPGA.

ThreadX works with the Xilinx Embedded Development Kit (EDK), V10.1i, which includes a complete set of GNU-based software development tools, including a C compiler, assembler, linker, and debugger and the Xilinx Platform Studio, a powerful hardware/software embedded design environment. Low-cost PowerPC evaluation and development systems from Avnet allowed Express Logic to quickly port ThreadX to the Virtex-5 embedded PowerPC 440 core.

Avnet's Xilinx Virtex-5 FXT Evaluation Kit provides the necessary features for exploring PowerPC 440-based system architectures using the Xilinx Virtex-5 FXT FPGA family. This low-cost evaluation platform is ideal for both software and FPGA designers needing an easy-to-use, entry-level system for code development and debug, processor systems prototyping, and general FXT evaluation.

Xilinx's Virtex-5 FXT FPGA ML507 is a general-purpose FPGA, RocketIO GTX, and Embedded System development board that provides feature-rich, general-purpose evaluation and development platform. It includes onboard memory and industry standard connectivity interfaces and delivers a versatile development platform for embedded applications.

ThreadX for the Xilinx Virtex-5 embedded PowerPC processor is available today, at prices starting at $12,500 for a single product, royalty-free license that includes full source code.

- Clive Maxfield
Programmable Logic DesignLine

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