Arm announces free Cortex-M processor designs for use with Xilinx FPGAs

Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2018 - 12:03 AM |
Tagged: Xilinx, RISC-V, FPGA, cortex-m3, cortex-m1, cortex-m, arm

Today, at the Xilinx Developer Forum event in San Jose, Arm has announced an expansion of their DesignStart program to offer Cortex M-series capabilities to customers of Xilinx FPGAs.

Arm DesignStart is a program which allows smaller customers to gain quick access to Arm IP. Developers can access the full Cortex-M0, Cortex-M3, and subsystem RTL designs for evaluation and integration into their products.

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If a customer decides to utilize this IP in a commercialized product, they are then subject to a success-based royalty model. This is a similar business model that we've seen 3D game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity move to, where the development tools are free, but the engine holders are paid a percentage of unit sales.

Today's announcement in conjunction with Xilinx, removes the royalty requirement traditionally associated with DesignStart. Developers will gain access to Arm Cortex-M1, an optimized version of Cortex-M0 specifically for usage in FPGAs, Cortex-M3 soft processor IP, as well as software toolchain improvements. Arm IP has been integrated into the Xilinx Vivado Design Suite, allowing for "drag and drop" integration of Arm Cortex-M processors and Xilinx FPGAs.

At a time when the competition in the embedded space is stronger than ever from the likes of the RISC-V foundation, this could be an excellent opportunity for Arm to attract new customers to their ecosystem. As high-speed data processing becomes the norm, the pairing of application-optimized FPGA and general purpose Microprocessors should become common in the data center and beyond.

Stay tuned from more news this week at the Xilinx Developer Forum!

Source: Arm

ARM Introduces PSA (Platform Security Architecture)

Subject: Processors | October 24, 2017 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: arm, cortex, mali, PSA, security, TrustZone, Platform Security Architecture, amd, cortex-m, Armv8-m

It is no wonder that device security dominates news.  Every aspect of our lives is approaching always connected status.  Whether it is a major company forgetting to change a default password or an inexpensive connected webcam that is easily exploitable, security is now more important than ever.

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ARM has a pretty good track record in providing solutions to their partners to enable a more secure computing experience in this online world.  Their first entry to address this was SecurCore which was introduced in 2000.  Later they released their TrustZone in 2003.  Eventually that technology made it into multiple products as well as being adopted by 3rd party chip manufacturers.

Today ARM is expanding the program with this PSA announcement.  Platform Security Architecture is a suite of technologies that encompasses software, firmware, and hardware.  ARM technology has been included in over 100 billion chips shipped since 1991.  ARM expects that another 100 billion will be shipped in the next four years.  To get a jump on the situation ARM is introducing this comprehensive security architecture to enable robust security features for products from the very low end IoT to the highest performing server chips featuring ARM designs.

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PSA is not being rolled out in any single product today.  It is a multi-year journey for ARM and its partners and it can be considered a framework to provide enhanced security across a wide variety of products.  The first products to be introduced using this technology will be the Armv8-M class of processors.  Cortex-M processors with Trusted Firmware running on the Mbed OS will be the start of the program.  Eventually it will branch out into other areas, but ARM is focusing much of its energy on the IoT market and ensuring that there is a robust security component to what could eventually scale out to be a trillion connected products.

There are two new hardware components attached to PSA.  The first is the CryptoIsland 300 on-die security enclave.  It is essentially a second layer of hardware security beyond that of the original TrustZone.  The second is the SDC-600.  This is a secure debug port that can be enabled and disabled using certificates.  This cuts off a major avenue for security issues.  These technologies are integrated into the CPUs themselves and are not offered as a 3rd party chip.

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If we truly are looking at 1 trillion connected devices over the next 10 years, security is no longer optional.  ARM is hoping to get ahead of this issue by being more proactive in developing these technologies and working with their partners to get them implemented.  This technology will evolve over time to include more and more products in the ARM portfolio and hopefully will be adopted by their many licensees.

 

Source: ARM

ARM's Mbed OS and Device Server

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: Mbed OS, arm, iot, cortex-m, Mbed Device Server

ARM is serious about staking their turf in the Internet of Things, there will soon be an Mbed OS custom built for their Cortex-M lineup of processors which will pair with an Mbed Device Server to manage clients and process data.  The main focus is on low power communications technology as one would expect, with support for Bluetooth Smart, 2G, 3G, LTE and CDMA cellular technologies, Thread, WiFi, and 802.15.4/6LoWPAN along with TLS/DTLS, CoAP, HTTP, MQTT and Lightweight M2M.  The project is not new either, according to what ARM told The Inquirer the Mbed community already has over 70,000 developers actively participating or designing products on this platform and there is a long list of partners for Mbed listed in that article.  The real focus in many minds is not so much on the current adoption of the Mbed OS, but in how much time will be spent on their second claim, security.  There is a lot of doomsday scenarios being tossed around as the IoT starts to come of age, many are farcically incorrect but there are very real concerns as well.

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"Called the Mbed IoT Device Platform, the software is primarily an operating system (OS) built around open standards that claims to "bring Internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool" in order to save money and energy in making IoT devices."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

ARM Introduces the Cortex-M7 Embedded Processor

Subject: Processors | September 30, 2014 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: arm, cortex, Cortex-A, cortex-m, 90 nm, 40 nm, 28 nm, 32 bit

Last week ARM announced the latest member of their Cortex-M series of embedded parts.  The new Cortex-M7 design is a 32 bit processor designed to have good performance while achieving excellent power consumption.  The M7 is a fully superscalar design with 6 pipeline stages.  This product should not be confused with the Cortex-A series of products, as the M series is aimed directly at embedded markets.

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This product is not necessarily meant for multi-media rich applications, so it will not find its way into a modern smart phone.  Products that it is leveraged at would be products like the latest generation of smart watches.  Industrial control applications, automotive computing, low power and low heat applications, and countless IoT (Internet of Things) products can utilize this architecture.

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The designs are being offered on a variety of process nodes from 90 nm down to 28 nm.  These choices are made by the licensee depending on the specifics of their application.  In the most energy efficient state, ARM claims that these products can see multiple years of running non-stop on a small lithium battery.

This obviously is not the most interesting ARM based product that we have seen lately, but it addresses a very important market.  What is perhaps most interesting about this release not only is the pretty dramatic increase in per clock performance from the previous generation of part, but also how robust the support is in terms of design tools, software ecosystem, and 3rd party support.

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Cortex-M7 can also be utilized in areas where a more complex DSP has traditionally been used.  In comparison to some common DSPs, the Cortex-M7 is competitive in terms of specialized workload performance.  It also has the advantage of being much more flexible than a DSP in a general computing environment.

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ARM just keeps on moving along with products that address many different computing markets.  ARM’s high end Cortex-A series of parts powers the majority of smart phones and tablets while the Cortex-M series have sold in the billions addressing the embedded market.  The Cortex-M7 is the latest member of that family and will find more than its fair share of products to be integrated into.

Source: ARM

ARM Cortex-MO+ Lowest Power Processor Yet At 9µA/MHz

Subject: Processors | March 14, 2012 - 06:21 AM |
Tagged: RISC, embedded systems, cortex-m0+, cortex-m, arm, 32-bit

ARM has recently announced a new 32 bit processor for embedded systems that sips power and is one of the lowest power designs yet. This new ARM processor is a new entrant to the Cortex M lineup and has been labeled the ARM Cortex-MO+. The chip features a full 32-bit RISC instruction set and is manufactured using the older, and low cost, 90nm process.

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The magic happens when we look at the power draw, and according to ARM it will sip power at a mere 9µA (9 microamps) per Megahertz (MHz). It can further run any code designed for (existing) Cortex-M series processor including the Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4. The new Cortex-M0+ is intended to be used in embedded systems and as microcontroller applications controlling larger machinery.

There is no word yet on pricing or availability; however, support has been promised by the Keil Microcontroller Development Kit and third part software such as Code Red, Micruim, and SEGGER. Freescale and NXP Semiconductor further have been named licensees of the technology thus far. In the case of NXP Semiconductor, they plan to replace existing 8 bit microcontrollers with the ARM Cortex-MO+ in devices such as their UPS units, active cabling, and touchscreens. Freescale, on the other hand, plans to develop their own version of the Cortex-MO+ in the form of the Kinetis L series processor. They will further use the low power chip to operate appliances, portable medical systems, and lighting (among others).

Source: Bit-Tech