PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit

by Microchip

A low-cost dev kit for Microchip's PolarFire SoC, a low-power FPGA integrated with a hardened quad core 64-bit RISC-V microprocessor subsystem

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$499

PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit

This kit includes the Icicle development board, a quick-start instructions card, a 12 VDC / 5 A power adapter and cord, an Ethernet cable, and a micro USB cable.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

All About Circuits

"PolarFire SoC has a unique, flexible memory subsystem enabling hard real-time applications and Linux applications to coexist in a flexible, coherent manner."

Hackster News

"The board is fully supported in Microchip's Mi-V ecosystem, which offers an official toolchain made up of various projects including Yocto Linux, BuildRoot, and FreeBSD on the operating system side....and development tools including Renode and Libero."

LinuxGizmos.com

"PolarFire SoC is a rare SoC indeed. It combines 64-bit RISC-V Freedom U540 cores from SiFive with its popular PolarFire FPGA."

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

"The board ships with a Linux demo that does not require familiarity with FPGA development tools to get started initially."

Antmicro

"RISC-V + Linux + FPGA = extreme flexibility"

diarioelectronicohoy

"Con un bajo consumo energético, este kit de desarrollo para SoC incluye un amplio abanico de interfaces y buenas posibilidades de programación."

PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit is part of the Microchip Get Launched design program.

Together at Last: FPGA + RISC-V

The Icicle Kit is the first development board for the groundbreaking PolarFire SoC, the world’s first FPGA and Linux-capable RISC-V system in a single chip.

Whether you are developing cutting-edge applications in embedded machine learning, wired networking, or industrial automation, or simply exploring RISC-V and FPGAs, the Icicle Kit and its robust Mi-V ecosystem of tools are the perfect way way to get started.

Features & Specifications

  • PolarFire SoC (MPFS250T-FCVG484EES)
    • 600 MHz clock
    • 1 x RV64IMAC core by SiFive
    • 4 x RV64GC core by SiFive
    • 254K logic elements non-volatile fabric
    • 784 x math block (18 x 18)
    • 4 x 12.7 Gbps SERDES
    • Secure boot
  • Memory
    • 2 GB LPDDR4 x 32
  • Storage
    • 1 Gb SPI flash
    • 8 GB eMMC flash or SD card slot (multiplexed)
  • Networking
    • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Expansion Interfaces
    • Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin header
    • mikroBUS socket
    • PCIe gen2
    • Micro USB 2.0 Hi-Speed OTG
    • 4 x UART (via single micro USB)
    • 2 x CAN
    • SPI
    • I²C
  • Power
    • 12 VDC / 5 A barrel jack input
    • On/off switch
    • I²C power monitor measuring four power rails
  • User Interfaces
    • 4 x User push button
    • 4 x User LED
    • 4 x Power status LED
  • Programming & Debugging
    • UART via micro USB
    • Onboard JTAG connector or embedded FlashPro6 (multiplexed)
    • 52 x test points
1. PolarFire® SoC MPFS250T-FCVG484EES15. J17
2. JTAG header for embedded programming - For FACTORY USE ONLY16. J15
3. USB Embedded Programming Connector17. 40-pin Raspberry Pi® Expansion Connector
4. J2418. CAN Connector
5. J3419. Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 Jacks
6. J4320. J31
7. Power ON/OFF Switch21. mikroBUS™ Expansion Connector
8. 12 VDC Power Supply Input22. USB - UART Terminal
9. Push Buttons23. SPI Flash
10. User and Power LEDs24. J45
11. eMMC Flash25. J28
12. SD Card Slot26. J35
13. J4627. x4 PCIe® Connector
14. USB OTG28. JTAG Programming Header

Icicle Kit Block Diagram

PolarFire SoC

The Icicle Kit is based on Microchip’s PolarFire SoC (MPFS250T-FCVG484EES), which is a system-on-chip that combines the state-of-the-art PolarFire FPGA with a five-core RISC-V microprocessor subsystem by SiFive.

To quote the official PolarFire SoC documentation:

The PolarFire® SoC FPGA family delivers an unparalleled combination of low power consumption, thermal efficiency and defense grade security for smart, connected systems.

It’s the first system on chip (SoC) field-programmable gate array (FPGA) with a deterministic, coherent RISC-V CPU cluster and a deterministic L2 memory subsystem enabling Linux and real-time applications.

Built on the award-winning, mid-range, low power PolarFire FPGA Architecture, PolarFire SoC devices deliver up to 50% lower power than alternative FPGAs, span from 25k to 460k logic elements (LEs) and feature 12.7G transceivers.

The unique architecture of the PolarFire SoC combines the power of RISC-V and Linux with the determinism needed for real-time hardware applications. See Microchip’s PolarFire SoC brochure and overview for more information.

PolarFire SoC Block Diagram

Support & Documentation

Icicle Kit (Top)

Icicle Kit (Bottom)

Development Tools

The Mi-V ecosystem brings together tools and vendors tailored for the PolarFire SoC, including:

  • OS: Yocto, BuildRoot, FreeBSD
  • RTOS: FreeRTOS, Zephyr, and others
  • Compilers: GCC, IAR, and others
  • Tools: Renode, Libero

Free Libero Silver License

Developing on the PolarFire SoC Icicle kit requires a Libero Silver license, which is free of charge and valid for one year. Once that license has expired, you will be able to generate a new license each year for free.

Demo: Linux Quick Start

Linux development on the Icicle Kit does not require any closed source tools or familiarity with FPGA development tools. Here’s how to get started quickly:

  1. Connect the Icicle Kit USB-UART port J11 to host machine.
  2. Connect the 12 VDC power supply to the Icicle Kit and the SW6 switch to ON.
  3. Use a serial terminal (e.g., Putty, ExtraPutty, minicom, screen, etc.) to open four connections to the four UARTs available through the J11 USB connector using these serial port settings:
    • 115200 baud
    • eight data bits
    • no flow control
    • no parity
  4. Power cycle the board. You should see boot messages on two of the serial terminal sessions:
    • One terminal displays Hart Software Services boot messages.
    • Another terminal displays U-Boot and Linux boot messages and provides a Linux prompt.
  5. In the terminal with the Linux prompt, log in with user name root and either no password or, in some cases, a password of microchip.

That’s it! You are now logged into Linux running on the Icicle Kit.

Manufacturing Plan

Icicle Kit is an evolution of HiFive Unleashed by SiFive and the accompanying HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board by Microchip. We worked closely with SiFive to integrate their RISC-V cores into PolarFire SoC and consolidate everything onto a single board.

HiFive Unleashed (right) and HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board (left)

After several iterations of Icicle prototypes, full production is currently underway and the first units are on schedule to ship to backers in September 2020.

Icicle Kit

Fulfillment & Logistics

All PolarFire SoC Icicle Kits will be shipped to backers from the Crowd Supply warehouse in the United States. For more information on fulfillment, see the Crowd Supply Guide page on ordering, paying, and shipping. The retail price (without shipping) of the PolarFire Icicle Kit is $489. The $499 price in this Crowd Supply campaign includes $10 for US domestic shipping.

Risks & Challenges

Since this product has been thoroughly tested and production is already underway, there is minimal risk to backers. The biggest risk is that the COVID-19 pandemic may delay some aspect of the delivery schedule, in which case we will notify backers via project updates.


Credits

Microchip

Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of microcontroller, analog, FPGA, connectivity, and power management semiconductors. Its easy-to-use development tools and comprehensive product portfolio enable customers to create optimal designs which reduce risk while lowering total system cost and time to market. The company’s solutions serve more than 130,000 customers across the industrial, automotive, consumer, aerospace and defense, communications, and computing markets. Get Launched is a start-up and incubator support program which helps companies achieve rapid time-to-production/market by utilizing Microchip’s technical expertise to advise throughout the design process.


SiFive

RISC-V cores

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