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Business | November 03, 2011

Development Kit combines ARM Cortex-M3 MCU and FPGA

Silica is introducing a first development kit that combines a Cortex –M3 microcontroller and a Spartan-6 FPGA on a single board.

Xynergy combines a brand new STMicroelectronics STM32F217 controller, which is based on an ARM Cortex-M3 core, with a Xilinx Spartan-6 low-cost FPGA XC6SLX16. The controller’s FSMC interface enables a parallel 16-bit connection for the FPGA ensuring high-speed data transfer between the two components. The Cortex-M3 core can be clocked at up to 120 MHz and incorporates 1 MB Flash memory and 128 KB SRAM. In addition, the 1 Gbit DDR-3 memory, which is connected to the FPGA, can be made transparent via the FSMC bus, enabling the controller to use it too. Xynergy enables the use of a selection of communications interfaces, including Ethernet, USB On-the-Go and CAN as well as SPI, Virtual COM-Port (with a RS232 to USB bridge) and a Micro-SD card slot. Two 64-pin extension sockets in a standard 2.54 mm grid are provided so that the kit can be plugged onto an optional motherboard with FPGA Mezzanine connectors (FMC). This facilitates the connection of an increasingly wide choice of FMC plug-in boards from different manufacturers for the provision of Industrial Ethernet capabilities, for example. The kit includes an ST-Link/V2 debug adapter and users are able to select their preferred development software system from a number of approved tool vendors for the STM32F217 – many of them offer restricted versions for free download. The FPGA can be configured directly using a Xilinx standard download cable or indirectly via the MCU. In addition Xilinx provides its ISE Web-PACK development environment free of charge.
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