ARM Intros Fast Cortex A9/M3, Keil MPS

Hot on the heels of ARM's ground-breaking Mali announcement at the Game Developers Conference comes a new pair of introductions from the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, California. First and foremost, the company has revealed two new models for the Cortex-A9 MPCore multicore processor and for the Cortex-M3 processor. According to ARM, these newcomers are engineered to enable:

Product Benefits:
  • Develop and optimize software applications, middleware and drivers for platforms based on new ARM CPUs - ahead of hardware availability
  • Model functionality is validated by ARM for true-to-hardware performance
  • Roadmap to future ARM architecture technology and CPU availability
  • Models can be used within the supplied ARM simulation environment or may be exported for use in the industry-standard OSCI TLM 2.0 SystemC environment

Simply (and intelligently, might we add) dubbed "The Fast Models," these two are the latest to be tossed into ARM's Fast Model portfolio, and included with that are speeds of up to 250MHz. The good news is that we shouldn't have to wait long to see these filter out, with availability slated for April and pricing still undisclosed.

Next up, we've got the industry's first prototyping system to incorporate Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M3 processors implemented in FPGA. The Keil Microcontroller Prototyping System (MPS) is the first of its kind to incorporate a full-speed Cortex-M0 or Cortex-M3 processor implemented in FPGA, which can be integrated with third-party peripheral IP to deliver a prototyping system for hardware and software application development. While this may all sound a bit fuzzy to the end user, ARM asserts that this MPS enables its partners to "implement a Cortex-M class system without having access to the processor RTL, meaning different processors can be benchmarked in order to choose the most suitable for the intended devices price/performance."

Key benefits of the Keil MPS are:

  • Cortex-M class processor running at up to 50MHz allows systems to run at close to the speed of the final microcontroller (MCU) device or system-on-chip (SoC).
  • Integrated memory and peripherals interfaces such as USB, Ethernet, DVI, MMC/SD Card, and FlexRay/CAN enable the system to be configured with a wide range of peripherals which may be included on the final SoC.
  • Large FPGA prototyping system based on an Altera Stratix III enables users to incorporate third-party peripherals and IP.
  •   Comprehensive Development Tools – the MPS includes the Altera Quartus II Web Edition to build and download the MCU or SoC hardware design to FPGA, Keil ULINK2 JTAG adapter and Keil MDK-ARM (evaluation version) to develop application software.
  • The ARM Microcontroller Prototyping System is available today, shipping with Cortex-M3 processor support. Cortex-M1 and Cortex-M0 processor support to follow.

Tags:  CPU, ARM, Cortex, Keil