The ARM® Processor Designed for FPGAs
Developed by ARM in collaboration with Actel, the 32-bit ARM Cortex™-M1 processor is the first ARM processor designed for FPGA implementation. With a balance between size and speed, the free Cortex-M1 processor operates at up to 60 MHz and can be implemented in as few as 4,353 tiles. A streamlined three-stage pipeline solution, the Cortex-M1 processor runs a subset of the classic Thumb®-2 instruction set so existing Thumb code can be utilized without change. The configurable Cortex-M1 processor connects to the Advanced High Performance Bus (AHB), enabling designers to build their subsystem and easily add peripheral functionality. In addition to SmartDesign, CoreConsole, and SoftConsole from Actel and RealView® tools from ARM, third-party vendors offer supporting tools—from compilers and debuggers to RTOS solutions.
- Developed specifically for FPGA implementation
- ARMv6-M instruction set architecture
- Executes all Thumb code—can run ARM7 and ARM9 Thumb subroutines
- 3-stage, 32-bit pipeline
- Separate memory and AHB-Lite interfaces
- Configurable nested vectored interrupt controller
- Optional fast or small multiplier
- Upward compatible with Cortex-M3
- User-programmed into the FPGA
- All Cortex-M1 I/Os and signals are accessible to the user
- Optimized for Actel flash-based M1 devices
- Available with no license fees or royalties
- Embedded real-time debug and JTAG interface
- Supported by a full range of development tools
Cortex-M1 is available for use in M1 flash family devices, which have been made ARM-enabled for seamless use of the processor core. The devices are based on the Actel nonvolatile flash IGLOO (M1AGL), ProASIC3 (M1A3P/M1A3PE), ProASIC3L (M1A3PL), and Fusion (M1AFS) devices and have the following features.
Note: All v2.x releases of ARM Cortex-M1 on Actel M1 devices have one user-selectable configuration option—with or without debug. In addition, they are pre-configured with 0K ITCM, 0K DTCM, small multiplier, little-endian, no OS extensions, and one interrupt.
The M1 IGLOO devices are reprogrammable, full-featured flash FPGAs designed to meet the demanding power and area requirements of today's portable electronics. Featuring Flash*Freeze technology and with operating voltages of 1.2 V / 1.5 V, these devices offer the industry's lowest power consumption. M1 IGLOO devices give designers a flexible system construction platform for building portable products that offer maximum battery life. For more information, visit the IGLOO web page.
The M1 ProASIC3 devices, which are based on the third generation of Actel flash FPGAs, provide a secure, low-power, live-at-power-up, single-chip solution. They are reprogrammable and offer fast time-to-market benefits at an ASIC-level unit cost. These features enable engineers to create high-performance, high-density system applications with Cortex-M1 using existing FPGA design flows and tools. For more information, visit the ProASIC3 web page.
The M1 ProASIC3L devices, which are the based on the Actel ProASIC3 FPGAs, provide a low power, high performance, and low cost solution with mixed voltage core support. By incorporating the proven Flash*Freeze technology, instantaneous switching (within 1 µs) from an active to a static state can be achieved. And, designs will benefit from the 40% dynamic power savings with the 1.2 V core operation. For more information, visit the ProASIC3L web page.
Actel Fusion® is the world's first mixed signal FPGAs. Fusion integrates a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter, as many as 40 analog I/Os, up to 8 Mbits of flash memory, and FPGA fabric all in a single device. When used in conjunction with a soft processor such as Cortex-M1, Actel Fusion devices represent the definitive soft MCU platform. For more information, visit the Fusion web page.
An important set of functional blocks required to use Cortex-M1 in applications are the subsystem peripherals. The following IP cores, just to name a few, are available for free in the Libero IDE Catalog and SmartDesign, and can be used with Cortex-M1.
For a complete list of IP cores for use with Cortex-M1 that are available in the Libero IDE Catalog and SmartDesign, visit the Actel IP cores web page. Actel also offers software drivers for these cores that ease the use of the cores for application developers, allowing them to focus on a core's function and not its internal operation. The Firmware Catalog includes all of the available drivers and is installed with Libero IDE or available as standalone.
Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE)
- Actel comprehensive FPGA design and development software
- Combines the latest design creation, physical implementation, and verification tools from leading EDA vendors
For more information, visit the Libero IDE web page.
- Graphical block system design creation tool
- Create complete FPGA and SoC designs, including processors, DirectCores, standard library cores, user IP, and custom HDL
- Automatically creates synthesis-ready HDL
- Operates within Libero IDE
- Learn more about SmartDesign
- Actel processor program development environment
- Includes GNU C/C++ compiler, GDB debugger, simulator
For more information, visit the SoftConsole web page.
- Actel Intellectual Property Deployment Platform (IDP)
- Includes a graphical interface and a block stitcher to simplify the assembly of IP cores for embedded applications in FPGAs
- Operates independently or seamlessly with Libero IDE
For more information, visit the CoreConsole web page.
Actel FlashPro3 Programmer
- Cortex-M1-enabled: IGLOO, ProASIC3, ProASIC3L, and Fusion devices, as well as standard versions of these devices, are supported with in-system programming (ISP).
- Configuration data is supplied through a standard JTAG interface from a microprocessor, Silicon Sculptor 3, or FlashPro3.
M1-enabled IGLOO Starter Kit
- Complete platform for the development of systems with the ARM Cortex-M1 in M1-enabled IGLOO FPGAs
- Includes: board with an M1AGL600 device, Actel Libero IDE Gold, SmartDesign, SoftConsole, CoreConsole, and on-board FlashPro3 programmer
- Enables low power FPGA application development with the ARM Cortex-M1
M1-enabled ProASIC3L Development Kit
- Complete prototyping and development environment
- Includes: board with an M1A3P1000L device, Actel Libero IDE Gold, SmartDesign, SoftConsole, CoreConsole, and on-board FlashPro3 programmer
- Enables application development with the ARM Cortex-M1 in Actel nonvolatile M1-enabled ProASIC3L devices, and supports ISP, device serialization, and FlashLock on-chip system security