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RiscFree* IDE for Intel® FPGAs Available Now!

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Last year, Intel announced the Nios® V/m soft-core processor for Intel® FPGAs. This processor core is based on the RISC-V RV32IA processor architecture with atomic extensions and a 5-stage pipeline. It delivers as much as five times the performance relative to a Nios® II soft-core processor when instantiated in an Intel® Agilex™ FPGA. Intel recently became a Premier member of the RISC-V International global open hardware standards organization that governs RISC-V processor development.

Additionally, Intel Foundry Services and Intel Capital have jointly announced significant investment in companies involved in RISC-V core technology development, specifically naming Andes Technology, Esperanto Technologies, SiFive, and Ventana Micro Systems. These actions provide a sense of how involved Intel has become in the global RISC-V movement, which continues to gather momentum. The RISC-V International organization now lists more than 2,000 members in more than 70 countries around the world.

Intel is now expanding its involvement with and support for the RISC-V ecosystem by working with Ashling, a leading supplier of microprocessor development tools, including tools for the RISC-V architecture. Ashling has provided embedded development tools and services to microprocessor development teams since 1982 and is an active member of the RISC-V International organization. The company has a proven track record for delivering RISC-V toolchains and has served as the vice-chair of the RISC-V International Trace committee. Ashling was instrumental in putting together the first standards that defined real-time trace capabilities for RISC-V processor cores.

Intel has incorporated Ashling’s RiscFree software development platform into the Intel® Quartus® Prime Pro Edition Software at no additional cost. The RiscFree platform includes an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), debugger, trace, and compiler support for Nios® V/m software development. In addition to Nios® V/m support, RiscFree* IDE for Intel® FPGAs also supports the hardened Arm processor cores integrated into Intel® SoC FPGAs, which unifies software development support for the Nios V and Arm processors used in Intel FPGA design projects.

The version of Ashling’s RiscFree platform supplied with the Intel Quartus Prime Pro Edition Software currently supports Intel® Agilex™, Intel® Stratix® 10, Intel® Arria® 10, and Intel® Cyclone® 10 GX programmable logic devices and SoCs. Support for additional Intel FPGA families and future Nios V processor cores will follow. Intel plans to introduce additional Nios V processor variants for FPGA use, including a “General-Purpose” version, an “Application Class” version, and a 64-bit, “Linux-Capable” soft-core processor in the future. Intel will also expand operating system support to include Zephyr, FreeRTOS, and Linux.

Ashling’s RiscFree development environment provides runtime debugging capabilities and is supported by the Intel® FPGA Download Cable II (USB Blaster II). The RiscFree debugger provides register visualization and real-time trace (both on-chip and off-chip) for Nios V and Arm processor cores used in Intel FPGAs. RiscFree will also provide debug awareness for a wide range of operating system (OS) and real-time operating system (RTOS) solutions starting with uC/OS-II followed by, Zephyr, FreeRTOS, and a full target multi-core and multi-hart (hardware thread) Linux kernel, along with debug support for device drivers and applications.

The Eclipse-based RiscFree IDE supports source and project creation, editing, build, trace, and debug. The RiscFree* platform’s heterogeneous and homogeneous debug support allows multi-core SoCs to share a single interface during debugging activities, which simplifies life for the project’s software developers.

Learn more about the Intel Nios V soft-core processor and the RiscFree* IDE for Intel® FPGAs.

Download the RiscFree* IDE for Intel® FPGAs.