Intel® SoC FPGAs are ARM* processor-based and inherit the strength of the ARM ecosystem. Intel, our ecosystem partners, and the Intel SoC FPGA user community provide a wide range of options to meet your SoC FPGA development needs.

Intel SoC FPGAs include a sophisticated high-performance multicore ARM Cortex*-A9 processor. This processor can be used for a wide range of functions from very simple bare-metal applications running on one of the available cores to high-bandwidth, low-latency , real-time operations. For a simple single-core application with minimal real-time constraints, bare-metal application can be build using the provided Hardware Libraries (HWLIBs). However to take full advantage of the capabilities of the device, it is highly recommended to use an operating system (OS). The chosen operating system can be a simple real-time kernel running on a single-core or a full-featured operating system such or Linux, or one of a number of multicore-capable real-time operating systems. 

In addition to open-source Linux, there are a number of commercial operating systems available for the Intel SoC FPGAs.

RocketBoards.org

You can obtain Linux* and open-source products for Intel SoC FPGAs on RocketBoards.org. This site provides a development environment and collaboration for embedded developers using SoC FPGAs. For information about the Golden System Reference Design that comes pre-installed on the Intel SoC FPGA boards, search rocketboards.org for “GSRD”.

Operating System Ecosystem for Intel SoC FPGAs

Operating System Company
Abassi Code Time Technologies
Android Fujisoft
Android MRA Digital
AUTOSAR MCAL (contact Intel) Intel
Bare-Metal/Hardware Libraries (in SoC EDS) Intel
Carrier Grade Edition 7 (CGE7) MontaVista
DEOS DDC-I
eCosPro eCosCentric
eT-Kernel eSOL
FreeRTOS FreeRTOS.org
INTEGRITY RTOS Green Hills Software
Nucleus Mentor Graphics
OSE Enea
PikeOS Sysgo
QNX Neutrino RTOS QNX
RTEMS on github RTEMS
RTXC Quadros Systems Inc.
ThreadX Express Logic
uC/OS-IIuC/OS-III Micrium
uC3 (Japanese language) eForce
VxWorks Wind River
Wind River Linux Wind River
Windows Embedded Compact 7 Witekio

Why Use an Operating System?

Operating systems are highly optimized to take full advantage of the processor capabilities and limitations.  It has been found that real-time operating systems designed for Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) will generally provide similar or better performance and lower latency than bare-metal applications (no operating system). Commercial operating systems also typically include specialized embedded development tools, middleware, technical support, and are thoroughly tested in the OS partner's test framework.

 

For professional quality development tools including JTAG debuggers and instruction trace functions consider the following options:

Development Tools Ecosystem For Intel SoC FPGA Devices

Product Company Description
iC5000 iSystem iSYSTEM’s embedded on-chip debug/analyzer, real-time test and measurement tool platform. It is based on programmable hardware where support for different microcontroller families and features is controlled via software. Major benefit is one time investment into hardware while supported debug and advanced test feature set can be extended at any time via software.
J-Link SEGGER J-Link debug probes support up to 3 MBps download speed to RAM and high speed flashloaders, as well as the ability to set an unlimited number of breakpoints in flash memory of MCUs.
Multi Green Hills Software development and debug tools for Green Hills INTEGRITY real-time operating system.  MULTI is complemented with the Green Hills Probe for high-speed JTAG debugging.
Poly-Platform,uC/OS-II

PolyCore Software

Micrium

PolyCore Software and Micrium support Cyclone V SoCs with a multicore solution. This development environment gives users a time-tested message-passing programming model and a trusted Real Time Operating System (RTOS), and makes it easy to create new multicore designs.
Simulink Embedded Coder MathWorks Use Simulink and Embedded Coder from Mathworks to generate C/C++ code for Altera Cyclone V SoCs. When used in combination with Altera SoC support from HDL Coder, this solution can be utilized in a hardware/software workflow spanning simulation, prototyping, verification, and implementation on Altera SoCs.
Sourcery CodeBench Mentor Embedded GNU toolchain support for the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor-based SoC Virtual Target.
Tasking VX-toolset Altium Optimizing C compiler, assembler, linker, and locator.
TRACE32 Lauterbach Lauterbach TRACE32 is family of modular microprocessor development tools that include debug, trace, and instruction-set simulators that support the Nios II processor and the dual-core ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCoreTM processor-based SoC.
Workbench Wind River Software development tools for VxWorks on the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor in Intel Cyclone® V SoCs and Arria® V SoCs.

Intel SoC FPGAs are supported by a wide range of third-party as well as soft intellectual property (IP) cores.  These blocks can be instantiated in the FPGA portion of the SoC device.  Some examples of key SoC soft IP cores are:

IP Cores Ecosystem For Intel SoC FPGA Devices

IP

Company

Description

Graphics Accelerator for Android

Fujisoft

Accelerates graphics functions for Android OS

Graphics Rendering

TES Electronic Solutions

2D, 2.5D, 3D, and HD graphics rendering with support for  EGL 1.3, OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenVG 1.01 APIs

Sercos III Industrial Ethernet Protocol

Sercos

Sercos III master and slave controllers

For a complete list of third-party and Intel FPGA IP for a full range of functions including memory controllers, PCIe interfaces and more, refer to the IP Portfolio page.

The Nios® II processor, the world's most versatile processor, according to Gartner Research, is the most widely used soft processor in the FPGA industry. The Nios II processor delivers unprecedented flexibility for your cost-sensitive, real-time, safety-critical (DO-254), ASIC-optimized, and applications processing needs. The Nios II processor supports all of our SoC and FPGA families.

Design Service Network (DSN) members offer an extensive portfolio of design services, intellectual property (IP) and products that can help customers meet challenging product development needs, lower risk, and accelerate time to market. They have expertise designing with Intel FPGA products, tools, and intellectual property combined with application experience to offer customers design services ranging from selecting the right device to full turnkey or systems-level design.

Intel SoC FPGA-based boards are available from Intel and ecosystem partners.  Boards can be standalone or system on module configuration.

Standalone Boards

Standalone boards are sometimes included as part of a development kit.  A development kit typically includes software and hardware.  The Intel SoC FPGA development kits include the board and all associated cables, documentation, and software development tools (SoC EDS and ARM* Development Studio 5 for Intel® SoC FPGAs).

A number of SoC FPGA-based boards are available.

System on Module

Intel SoC FPGA system on modules (SoMs) are small, integrated, single-board computers with Cyclone® V, Arria® 10 or Arria V SoCs at its core. An SoC FPGA SoM includes DDR3 memory, flash memory, power management, common interface controllers, and board support package (BSP) software to help you create a fully customized embedded design without starting from scratch.

Take advantage of a complete ecosystem today, using these off-the-shelf modules installed onto a custom or commercial carrier base board specific to your system application and significantly reduce your design time and risk.

Learn More >>

SoC System on Module