Arm chips can be found in just about everything from mobile devices to SBCs, and now the famous Cortex-M line will be featured in Xilinx FPGA boards through Arm’s DesignStart program, which allows companies to develop custom SoCs and FPGAs with access to the Arm IP.
A recent announcement from Arm states the processor designer is making their Cortex-M1 and M3 cores available for Xilinx’s Artix, Zynq, and Spartan FPGA boards for the mere cost of $0, with no royalty or license fees as well.
The idea behind the company’s DesignStart program is to “help developers benefit from Arm technology with a common software base that can be utilized across their entire device portfolio.” In essence, the program dramatically reduces the start-up and development costs associated with Arm’s processors for those companies looking to bring about their SoCs and FPGAs.
According to Arm product management director Phil Burr, the DesignStart program has helped a large number of developers and companies since its inception in 2010 and hasn’t slowed in the last eight years.
“In the past 12 months alone, we have seen more than 3,000 prototyping downloads and signed more than 300 commercial licenses for our processors through DesignStart. The addition of Cortex-M processors for FPGA provides even more access for developers as we continue to drive towards our vision of a trillion connected devices.”
With that in mind, hardware engineers can drop the Cortex-M1 (an FPGA-optimized version of the M0), and M3 into their Xilinx FPGA designs and execute software on the gate array to increase the chip’s capabilities. For those interested in developing their own Xilinx FPGA board, the Cortex-M1 design is currently available for download, and the M3 should be available sometime in November.