ARM shows Keil microcontroller prototyping system

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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Mar 31, 2009

ARM unveiled the Keil microcontroller prototyping system (MPS) at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in San Jose, California.

The Keil MPS is claimed to enable the evaluation and prototyping of ARM Cortex-M-class processors and user-defined peripherals in a single product.

It is the first prototyping system incorporating a full-speed Cortex-M0 or Cortex-M3 processor implemented in FPGA, which can be integrated with third-party peripheral internet protocol (IP) to deliver a prototyping system for hardware and software application development.

The MPS enables ARM partners to implement a Cortex-M-class system without having access to the processor RTL, meaning that different processors can be benchmarked in order to choose the most suitable one for the intended device's price/performance.

Additionally, the MPS is delivered fully configured with the Cortex-M processor and is fully tested so that the user does not have to test the processor implementation; he or she can immediately begin adding third-party IP or writing software.

Mark Onions, director of marketing at ARM's system design division, said: 'Previously, ARM partners could not implement an FPGA prototype without access to the processor RTL.

'The MPS provides a consistent platform for evaluating and developing devices based on the Cortex-M processors available today - including the industry's smallest, lowest-power Cortex-M0 processor - and those to be released in the future,' he added.

The Cortex-M-class processor, running at up to 50MHz, allows systems to run at close to the speed of the final microcontroller (MCU) or system-on-chip (SoC) device.

Integrated memory and peripheral interfaces, such as USB, Ethernet, DVI, MMC/SD card and Flexray/CAN, enable the system to be configured with a range of peripherals that may be included on the final SoC.

The large FPGA prototyping system, based on an Altera Stratix III, is said to enable users to incorporate third-party peripherals and IP.

The MPS includes the Altera Quartus II web edition to build and download the MCU or SoC hardware design to the FPGA, the Keil ULINK2 JTAG adapter and the Keil MDK-ARM (evaluation version) to develop application software.

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