When you create software for the Intel® (formerly Altera) SoC FPGAs, you will be able to use familiar ARM® system tools and the standard development process.

100 Percent Ecosystem Compatible

At the heart of the Intel SoC FPGAs are the dual-core ARM Cortex®-A9 MPCoreTM processors, which are well supported by the embedded software industry. We and our ecosystem partners provide a wide range of choices to meet your development needs.

SoC Embedded Design Suite

The Intel SoC FPGA Embedded Design Suite (EDS) contains development tools, utility programs, run-time software, and application examples to enable embedded development on the SoC hardware platform. You can use the Intel SoC FPGA EDS to develop firmware and application software. For FPGA-adaptive debugging, the Intel SoC FPGA
 EDS includes an exclusive offering of the ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5™) Altera Edition Toolkit.

FPGA-Adaptive Debugging

Intel SoC FPGAs give you the flexibility to create custom field-programmable SoC variants by implementing user-defined peripherals and hardware accelerators in the FPGA fabric. The ARM DS-5 Altera Edition Toolkit dynamically adapts your custom configurations of the FPGA within the SoC to seamlessly extend embedded debugging capabilities across the CPU-FPGA boundary. The toolkit delivers an unprecedented level of debugging visibility and control that leads to substantial productivity gains.

Operating System Support

Whether you're creating a new application or contemplating reusing legacy code, operating system support is key. Our operating systems and board support package partners are poised to provide operating systems, board support packages, and development tools to ease your development process. Visit the ARM Connected Community center for a complete list of operating systems that support the ARM Cortex-A9 processor. Please visit our Embedded Alliance page to see a list of operating system partners who can provide board support packages and additional software and services.

MathWorks Design Flow for Intel SoC FPGAs

Use Simulink and Embedded Coder from MathWorks to generate C/C++ code for Cyclone® V SoCs.
When used in combination with Intel SoC FPGA support from HDL Coder, this solution can be utilized in a hardware/software workflow spanning simulation, prototyping, verification, and implementation on Intel SoC FPGAs. For further information, visit https://www.mathworks.com/hardware-support/altera-soc-ecoder.html.

from ARM


  • Streamlined three-stage 32-bit ARM® Cortex processor
  • Optimized for implementation in FPGAs, targets Cyclone® III FPGAs
  • SOPC Builder ready
  • Low-cost ARM Cortex-M1 Development Kit, including the ARM RealView Microcontroller Development Kit
  • Supported by a wide variety of tools and operating systems in the ARM Connected Community
  • Streamlined licensing process
  • Easy migration path to ARM processor roadmap
  • Tightly coupled memories for rapid access to on-chip block RAM
  • Integrated configurable interrupt controller
  • Enhanced RTOS support with integrated system timer
  • Optional debug, breakpoint, and watchpoint unit

Block Diagram


The Cortex-M1 processor is a streamlined, three-stage, 32-bit RISC processor that implements the popular, high-density Thumb®-2 instruction set. This enables both the processor and software footprint to meet the area budget of the smallest FPGAs, while retaining compatibility with Thumb code for any ARM processor from the ARM7TDMI® processor upwards. Despite being the smallest processor in the Cortex processor family, the Cortex-M1 processor delivers 0.8 DMIPS per MHz. The Cortex-M1 processor enables OEMs to leverage their expertise on ARM architectures across FPGAs and other discrete devices.

The ARM Cortex-M1 Development Kit for Cyclone III FPGAs provides OEMs with the tools necessary to design an ARM processor-based system. The ARM Cortex-M1 processor is delivered in encrypted, SOPC Builder tool-compatible intellectual property (IP) format in the ARM Cortex-M1 Development Kit. This enables OEMs to integrate the Cortex-M1 processor with other system components rapidly, using the popular Quartus® Prime design software, including the SOPC Builder tool. The kit also provides the ARM RealView Microcontroller Development Kit for all embedded development needs. The Cortex-M1 processor also benefits from the broad and growing support of tools and RTOS vendors in the ARM Connected Community.

To streamline the IP licensing process, the Cortex-M1 Development Kit features a click-through End User License Agreement that gives OEMs the rights to create unlimited Cortex-M1 processor-based designs within a 1-year term. The license provides perpetual implementation rights for these designs, and includes a free 1,000 unit royalty grant which can be extended quickly and easily on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Device Utilization and Performance

Table 1 lists the typical device utilization results for the megafunction.

Table 1. Typical Device Utilization for the Megafunction

Target Device Speed Grade Utilization
(Logic Elements)
Cyclone III-62,600100 MHzSystem timer
2 interrupts


The Cortex-M1 Development Kit for Cyclone III FPGAs includes the Cortex-M1 processor IP, the RealView Microcontroller Development Kit, example hardware system designs, a 1-year right to use the Cortex-M1 processor in new designs, and a free 1,000 unit royalty grant. 

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