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Microchip Launches Affordable PolarFire SoC Kit, Expanding Access to RISC-V and FPGA for Embedded Engineers

Feb 15, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 720 views

Today, Microchip unveiled the PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit, a cost-effective and versatile tool catering to a wide range of users, including students, beginners, and seasoned professionals. This user-friendly kit facilitates quick testing of application ideas, firmware development, programming, and debugging, making it suitable for various levels of expertise in the embedded field.

The PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit is centered around a quad-core, 64-bit RISC-V processor, optimized for Linux and real-time applications, and a PolarFire MPFS095T SoC FPGA with 95K Logic Elements. The kit also includes 1 GB of DDR4 memory and a microSD connector, ensuring solid performance and flexible storage options for various applications.

 PolarFire SoC FPGA Discovery Kit block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The device boasts robust connectivity with Gigabit Ethernet, three UART ports, a 40-pin Raspberry Pi connector, and a mikroBUS expansion header. For debugging, it includes an embedded FP5 programmer, two debug pushbuttons, eight debug LEDs, and eight DIP switches, offering versatile and efficient troubleshooting capabilities.

 PolarFire SoC FPGA Discovery Kit board overview
(click images to enlarge)

Microchip states that the PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit arrives at a time when the demand for open-source RISC-V-based processor architectures is on the rise. However, the availability of commercial-grade hardware remains limited. Microchip Technology aims to bridge this gap, bringing this cutting-edge technology into the hands of more engineers and students.

Microchip’s launch of the Discovery Kit includes an initiative to integrate it into their Academic Program, offering it to universities at a reduced price in late 2024. This effort ensures students have access to cutting-edge technology, aligning academic learning with industry trends. Professor Steven Osburn of Arizona State University highlighted the kit’s value in providing hands-on experience for students, especially in capstone projects. For software development, refer to the Microchip’s Mi-V ecosystem page.

 PolarFire SoC FPGA Discovery Kit
(click image to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit:

  • Memory/Storage:
    • 1GB DDR4 RAM
    • 1x MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity:
    • 1x GbE LAN port
  • I/O Interfaces:
    • 1x mikroBUS connector
    • 1x 7-segment display
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi connector
  • USB:
    • 1x USB Type-C port
  • Other Features:
    • 8x Debug LEDs
    • 2x Debug Push-buttons
    • 8x Debug DIP Switches
  • Power:
    • 5V/3A VDC (via USB Type-C)
  • Mechanical:
    • 4.1”  x 3.3”

Further information

The PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit is available for $132 for the general public and at a reduced price of $99 through Microchip’s Academic Program. To buy, customers can contact a Microchip sales representative, an authorized worldwide distributor, or visit their website.

(advertise here)

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One response to “Microchip Launches Affordable PolarFire SoC Kit, Expanding Access to RISC-V and FPGA for Embedded Engineers”

  1. Karl says:

    $99.00 isn’t bad

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