Xilinx and ARM will enable ARM processor and interconnect technology on Xilinx FPGAs. Xilinx is adopting ARM Cortex processor IP, using performance-optimized ARM cell libraries and embedded memories for their future programmable platforms. In addition, ARM and Xilinx are working to define the next-generation ARM AMBA interconnect technology that is enhanced and optimized for FPGA architectures. Ideal applications will span the communications, automotive, consumer, aerospace, defense, and industrial markets.
To help create a more optimal ecosystem serving both Xilinx FPGA and ARM IP technologies, the two companies are already working with a number of IP providers and EDA vendors (Cadence Design Systems, CAST,Denali Software, Mentor Graphics, Northwest Logic, OMIINO, Sarance Technologies, Synopsys, and Xylon) to support an advanced version of the AMBA specification, which is closely aligned to ARM processors.
The new interconnect will simplify and extend the capabilities of next generation programmable platforms using a 32-bit processor IP. The definition of the standard is aligned with the ‘Socketable IP’ aspect of the Xilinx Targeted Design Platform strategy. Because IP re-use is an essential component in reducing system development costs and timescales, the plug-and-play approach means that IP developed by Xilinx and its ecosystem can be easily used without requiring the user to make a huge investment in vendor support.
The AMBA protocol is the de facto standard for on-chip fabric communication that details a strategy for the interconnection and management of functional blocks that makes up a system-on-chip (SoC). The new collaboration with Xilinx optimizes this for FPGA implementations and introduces a new use model of being used with or without processors as well. The move to ARM aligns with the Xilinx Targeted Design Platform Strategy. A key component of the Targeted Design Platforms is ecosystem participation enabling mutual customers to easily scale their product designs around a stable architecture. The adoption of AMBA and AXI technology gives software and hardware designers that stability with a proven, broadly adopted standard for interconnecting IP blocks and building embedded systems.