PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit – Low Cost, Low Power FPGA Development Board with Quad Core 64-bit RISC-V Microprocessor Subsystem


ByDinesh Kumar 0

PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit from Microchip

Microchip has come up with the PolarFire SoC Icicle, a development board built around the company's first 64-bit Linux-capable RISC-V CPU cluster and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) system-on-chip (SoC). The Icicle kit includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, a 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header compatible with the Raspberry Pi pinout, a mikroBUS socket, a mechanically-16-lane PCI Express Gen. 2 port, micro-USB 2.0 On The Go (OTG), four UARTs on a single micro-USB port, two CAN, one SPI, and one I2C bus.

The Icicle Kit is based on Microchip’s PolarFire SoC (MPFS250T-FCVG484EES), which is a system-on-chip that combines the state-of-the-art PolarFire FPGA with a five-core RISC-V microprocessor subsystem by SiFive. FPGA resources including a non-volatile fabric with 254l logic elements, 784-unit math block, and four 12.7Gb/s serializer/deserializer (SERDES) ports make it ideal for developing cutting-edge applications. There's 2GB of LPDDR4 onboard, 1Gb of SPI flash storage, and an 8GB eMMC.

As stated by the company, the Icicle Kit and its robust Mi-V ecosystem of tools enable users to develop cutting-edge applications in embedded machine learning, wired networking, industrial automation, or simply exploring RISC-V and FPGAs.

Fully supported in Microchip's Mi-V ecosystem, the board offers an official toolchain made up of various projects including Yocto Linux, BuildRoot, and FreeBSD on the operating system side, FreeRTOS and Zephyr for real-time operating system (RTOS) users, GCC and IAR compilers, and development tools like Renode and Libero. The PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit however requires a Libero Silver license which is free of charge and valid for one year.

Key Features & Specifications of PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit

  • PolarFire SoC (MPFS250T-FCVG484EES)
    • 600 MHz clock
    • 1 x RV64IMAC core by SiFive
    • 4 x RV64GC core by SiFive
    • 254K logic elements non-volatile fabric
    • 784 x math block (18 x 18)
    • 4 x 12.7 Gbps SERDES
    • Secure boot
  • Memory
    • 2 GB LPDDR4 x 32
  • Storage
    • 1 Gb SPI flash
    • 8 GB eMMC flash or SD card slot (multiplexed)
  • Networking
    • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Expansion Interfaces
    • Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin header
    • mikroBUS socket
    • PCIe gen2
    • Micro USB 2.0 Hi-Speed OTG
    • 4 x UART (via single micro USB)
    • 2 x CAN
    • SPI
    • I²C
  • Power
    • 12 VDC / 5 A barrel jack input
    • On/off switch
    • I²C power monitor measuring four power rails
  • User Interfaces
    • 4 x User push button
    • 4 x User LED
    • 4 x Power status LED
  • Programming & Debugging
    • UART via micro USB
    • Onboard JTAG connector or embedded FlashPro6 (multiplexed)
    • 52 x test points

The mass production of the boards has already begun and the boards will be shipped to customers in mid-September 2020. Each board wears a price tag of $489 and the end-users who buy the board through the Crowd Supply are charged $499 ($10 is charged extra for US domestic shipping costs).

Get Our Weekly Newsletter!

Subscribe below to receive most popular news, articles and DIY projects from Circuit Digest

Related Content


Log in or register to post Comment