In an entry on the RocketBlog, Dave Orecchio of Gate Rocket says embedded processor cores for DSP, microcontroller and microprocessor functions are becoming increasingly common in FPGAs.
Both Xilinx and Altera have long offered their own embedded soft IP cores, and a growing trend is to also support the integration of third-party hard IP cores, such as the PowerPC or ARM families. Gartner estimates that approximately 40 percent of all FPGA designs include embedded processors.
The combination of a flexible FPGA platform and a proven, high-performance core saves designers time and effort. And the FPGA suppliers are making it even more efficient through offerings such as Xilinx’ Extensible Processing Platform for the ARM Cortex-A9, which makes customizing the FPGA device for specific function or design requirements easier.
But with the addition of larger and more complex embedded processors, combined with the complexity of the overall leading-edge FPGA architectures, designers are faced with unprecedented verification challenges. A ‘fully loaded’ FPGA with multiple embedded cores and millions of logic cells can literally bring a traditional simulation approach to its knees.
Just the density of these devices alone is daunting. But consider that there is also a need to execute and verify software along with the hardware, and designers are looking at multi-million cycle simulation challenges.
Read more at the RocketBlog.