Microchip's RISC-V-Powered PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit Launches as the Industry "Embraces RISC-V"

Two months after launching a pre-order campaign, the PolarFire SoC Icicle is shipping — though the FPGA SoC at its heart is still sampling.

Gareth Halfacree
8 months agoFPGAs

After opening pre-orders for its Linux-capable PolarFire SoC Icicle development board, designed to make it easy to get started with RISC-V and FPGA development, two months ago, Microchip has now begun shipping.

Microchip opened orders for the PolarFire SoC Icicle, a development board built around its PolarFire SoC FPGA platform, two months ago after launching an early-access program for the FPGA itself at the start of the year. The Icicle is designed to offer everything a developer needs to work with a Linux-capable 64-bit quad-core plus single-management-core processor and a low-power PolarFire FPGA. In doing so, the company claims, it is helping to accelerate adoption of the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).

"Microchip is enabling an unprecedented transformation in processor design as the market embraces RISC-V software and silicon," claims Bruce Weyer, vice president of the FPGA business unit at Microchip. "We are removing barriers to entry through a low-cost evaluation platform that will give embedded engineers, software designers and hardware developers a vehicle to implement designs that leverage the benefits of the open RISC-V ISA combined with Microchip’s best-in-class form factors, thermals and low-power characteristics of PolarFire SoC FPGAs."

The Icicle has Microchip's name on it, but is a multi-vendor project: The RISC-V processor complex itself is from RISC-V pioneer SiFive, embedded trace macro comes courtesy of UltraSoC, while the development tools come from Adacore, Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics, and Wind River. The broader ecosystem, which Microchip manages under the name Mi-V, includes partners from commercial RTOS developers Nucleus and VxWorks to companies like Antmicro, Emdalo, and Trenz Electronic who offer SOM and design services.

Those who pre-ordered their Icicle kits should be receiving them now; those who haven't yet ordered one can do so now at $489 with immediate delivery. Anyone looking to take a design forward to production, however, should note that while volume production of the PolarFire SoC has begun, only sample quantities are available to order at the time of writing.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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