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SBC builds on PolarFire SoC with dual GbE and CAN

Jul 8, 2021 — by Eric Brown 2,211 views

Aldec announced a “TySOM-M-MPFS250” SBC that runs Linux on Microchip’s RISC-V based, FPGA equipped PolarFire SoC and offers 2x GbE, 2x FMC, 2x micro-USB, PCIe x4, CAN, HDMI, and PMOD.

EDA design verification firm Aldec has introduced a new member of its Linux-driven TySOM FPGA prototyping boards built around Microchip’s hybrid Arm/FPGA PolarFire SoC. The TySOM-M-MPFS250 is the first of a series of TySOM-M boards based on the low-power, security-enhanced PolarFire SoC, which combines Microchip’s PolarFire FPGA with a SiFive RISC-V CPU. The approximately Cortex-A35 like RISC-V cores comprise 4x 1.5GHz U54-MC CPU cores and a fifth monitor core.

TySOM-M-MPFS250, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The TySOM-M-MPFS250 follows four TySOM SBCs based on Xilinx’s Zynq-7000 and two newer boards based on the more powerful Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC — the TySOM-3A-ZU19EG and TySOM-3-ZU7 — which we summarized farther below.

The PolarFire SoC based TySOM-M-MPFS250 is designed for prototyping applications in imaging, AI, ML, IoT, industrial automation, automotive, aerospace and defense, wireless access networks, and cellular infrastructure. Other PolarFire SoC boards include Microchip’s PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit, as well as Sundance’s more compact PolarBerry and Aries’ M100PFS module and devkit.


The TySOM-M-MPFS250 runs Linux on the Microchip PolarFire SoC MPFS250T-FCG1152, which offers a 254K logic cell FPGA block. This model, which is used on the Icicle Kit, appears to be the highest-end SKU currently in production. Aldec says that future TySOM-M models will support higher-powered PolarFire SoC FPGA SKUs, which are planned with up to 460K LE capability.

TySOM-M-MPFS250 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The TySOM-M-MPFS250 is equipped with 2GB DDR4 with ECC (listed as 16Gb MSS DDR4 x36) for the Linux/RISC-V block and 2GB DDR4 (16Gb FPGA DDR4 x32) for the FPGA. There is also a 64Kb EEPROM, some SPI flash, an empty eMMC socket, and a microSD slot. The announcement also mentions the presence of LSRAM, uPROM and uRAM linked to the FPGA.

I/O linked to the Linux-driven RISC-V cores include 2x GbE ports, mini-USB 2.0 and mini-USB serial console ports, and temperature, voltage, current, and accelerometer sensors. On the FPGA side you get HDMI, CAN, 2x FMC (HPC, LPC), and a VITA 57.1 compliant PMOD connector. The FPGA block also controls PCIe x4 Gen2 root, 4x user switches, and 4x LEDs.

Zynq UltraScale+ SBCs: TySOM-3A-ZU19EG and TySOM-3-ZU7

In addition to providing the new TySOM-M series and four boards equipped with the older Zynq-7000, Aldec has a pair of more recent boards that feature Xilinx’s Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. The SoC is equipped with 2x or 4x 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores, a 667MHz Mali-400 MP2 GPU, and dual 600MHz Cortex-R5 MCUs. Different models offer a wide range of FPGA capabilities.

The larger TySOM-3A-ZU19EG SBC gives you a high-end, quad-core UltraScale+ with 1,143K logic cells. The board ships with 8GB DDR4 for the Cortex-A53 cores and 8GB for the FPGA plus 256MB (2Gb) NAND, 512Mb QSPI, and a microSD slot.

TySOM-3A-ZU19EG (left) and TySOM-3-ZU7
(click images to enlarge)

The TySOM-3A-ZU19EG is equipped with a WiFi/BT module shared by the Arm and FPGA blocks along with 2x GbE ports (1x Arm, 1x FPGA). Arm features include 4x USB 3.0, micro- and mini-USB, and a DP port plus SATA and CAN connectors and sensors. FPGA features include HDMI and mini-USB serial console ports, 2x FMC, 2x PMOD, and PCIe x1, among other features.

The smaller TySOM-3-ZU7 board offers a lower-end, quad-core UltraScale+ with 504K logic cells. The SBC supplies 8GB DDR4 for Arm and 512MB (4Gb) for FPGA. There is also 256MB (2Gb) NAND, some QSPI, and a microSD slot.

Once again, a WiFi/BT module is shared by both sides of the UltraScale+. Arm features include 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, mini-USB serial, DP, CAN, SATA, and sensors. On the FPGA side, you get 2x FMC, HDMI in and out, and PMOD, among other interfaces.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the TySOM-M-MPFS250. More information may be found in Aldec’s announcement and product page.


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