Electronic design automation firm Aldec has launched a development board built around the newly-qualified Microchip PolarFire SoC, aiming to offer a compact but full-feature alternative to Microchip's own Icicle Kit with modular expandability: the TySOM-M.
"Our TySOM-M debut board inherits all the features and benefits of the PolarFire SoC FPGA. These, combined with the board’s own features and benefits, provide engineers with a highly versatile platform for developing applications that will cost less than if they were to target Arm cores," claims Aldec's Zibi Zalewski of the launch. "Also, the board’s ability to connect to two FMC daughter cards means it can be used in virtually any industry sector without having to develop custom hardware. This really is a powerful plug-and-play solution."
Built around Microchip's PolarFire SoC MPFS250T-FCG1152 part, the TySOM-M includes four SiFive U54 RISC-V application cores, an E51 monitor core, and an FPGA with 254k logic cells and a total of 17.6Mb of RAM — alongside 16Gb of DDR4 for the FPGA and another 16Gb of ECC DDR4 for the system.
The board's main claim to fame: expandability, using high-density FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) connectors to interface with optional add-on boards — including FMC-ADAS, for those developing Advanced Driver Assistant System (ADAS) projects with interfaces for cameras, radar, LIDAR, and ultrasonic sensors, the FMC-INDUSTRIAL for industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) projects, and the FMC-IOT board for more general IoT applications with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sub-GHz, and Zigbee radios plus wired Ethernet.
The base board, meanwhile, includes two Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI video output, a full-size PCI Express x4 Gen. 2 slot, CAN bus, PMOD connectivity, four user-programmable LEDs, four user-accessible DIP switches, an in-built current and voltage monitor, and on-board temperature and accelerometer sensors.
On the software front, Aldec is providing a board support package (BSP), which includes a meta layer for the Yocto Project to build a compatible Linux distribution, reference designs, a reference bare-metal application, and configurations for both the Microprocessor Subsystem (MSS) and Hart Software Services (HSS) aspects of the PolarFire SoC.
Microchip's own PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit launched two years ago, though the chip at its heart only became production qualified earlier this year. Designed to appeal to those working with FPGA and RISC-V technologies, the development board offered a wide range of capabilities including support for Linux and real-time operating systems — even simultaneously — and is the focus of our FPGAdventures series.
The TySOM-M is now available with more information on the product page, though Aldec has not publicly confirmed pricing; it has, however, revealed plans to release additional PolarFire SoC designs — as well as TySOM-M variants with higher-specification PolarFire SoC chips when available.