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.

SoC Ecosystem

There are a number of options for operating systems, development tools, intellectual property (IP) cores, and professional services. Many are provided by ecosystem partners.

The Cyclone® V SoC includes 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 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 Cyclone V SoC.

You can obtain Linux* and open-source products for Intel SoC FPGAs on 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 for “GSRD”.

Operating System Ecosystem for Cyclone V SoC

Operating System Company Available
Abassi Code Time Technologies  
Android Fujisoft  
Android MRA Digital  
AUTOSAR MCAL (contact Intel) Intel  
Bare-Metal/Hardware Libraries (in SoC EDS)
Carrier Grade Edition 7 (CGE7) MontaVista  
eCosPro eCosCentric  
eT-Kernel eSOL  
INTEGRITY RTOS Green Hills Software  
Nucleus Mentor Graphics  
OSE Enea  
PikeOS Sysgo  
QNX Neutrino RTOS QNX  
RTEMS on github RTEMS  
RTXC Quadros Systems  
ThreadX Express Logic  
uC/OS-IIuC/OS-III Micrium  
uC3 (Japanese) 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 Tool Ecosystem for Cyclone V SoC

Products Company Description Available
ARM* Development Studio 5 for Intel SoC FPGAs Intel Software development and debug tools for the Intel SoC FPGA devices based on ARM Development Studio-5 (DS-5).  Use with Intel FPGA Download Cable II JTAG debugger tool or with ARM DSTREAM tools for JTAG debugging and high-speed instruction Trace.  
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.  

PolyCore Software


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 Cyclone V SoCs. When used in combination with SoC FPGA support from HDL Coder, this solution can be utilized in a hardware/software workflow spanning simulation, prototyping, verification, and implementation on SoC FPGAs.  
Sourcery CodeBench Mentor Embedded GNU toolchain support for the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor-based SoC FPGA Virtual Target.  
Tasking VX-toolset Altium Optimizing C compiler, assembler, linker, and locator.  
TRACE32 Lauterbach Lauterbach TRACE32 is a 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 MPCore* processor-based SoC.  
Workbench Wind River Software development tools for VxWorks on the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor in Cyclone® V SoCs  

Our SoCs 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 shown below.

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





Graphics Accelerator for Android


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 III master and slave controllers


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.

Intel FPGA Design Solutions 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 our products, tools, and intellectual property combined with application experience to offer customers design services ranging from selecting the right Intel FPGA device to full turnkey or systems-level design.

The Cyclone® V SoC is supported by a wide range of development kits, boards, and system on modules (SOMs). SoC-based boards are available from us and our 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 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).

System on Module

Our SoC system on modules (SoMs) are small, integrated single-board computers with Cyclone V or Arria® V SoCs at its core. The SoC 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. 

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