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Arm Cortex-M3 DesignStart FPGA-Xilinx edition User Guide : Cortex-M3 DesignStart FPGA-Xilinx edition package

Cortex®-M3 DesignStart™ FPGA-Xilinx edition package

An example system design is provided to target a low-cost development platform, with example integration tests.

The Cortex®-M3 DesignStart™ FPGA-Xilinx edition package includes:

  • A Cortex-M3 processor that has:
    • A Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC) that supports up to 240 interrupts, each with up to 256 levels of priority that can be changed dynamically.
    • Configurable endianness, only little-endian is supported in the example system.
    • Configurable embedded debug support.
    • Instruction Tightly Coupled Memory (ITCM), up to 1MB.
    • Data Tightly Coupled Memory (DTCM), up to 1MB.
    • ITCM Alias support.
    • Serial Wire (SW), JTAG, or combined SWJ-DP debug port.
  • Integrated AHB to AXI bridges, which allow the packaged Cortex-M3 processor to connect directly to standard Vivado components.
  • Optional Embedded Trace Macrocell (ETM) for instruction trace, Data Watchpoint and Trace (DWT) and Instrumentation Trace Macrocell (ITM), coupled with a Trace Port Interface Unit (TPIU) with four pins.
  • Optional V2C-DAPLink board support, which:
    • Provides Cortex‑M debug flow.
    • V2C-DAPLink USB to the Serial Wire Debug (SWD) interface.
    • V2C-DAPLink USB UART endpoint.
    • Local Quad Serial Peripheral Interface (QSPI), flash for code download (8MB) independent of FPGA image.
    • User accessible microSD card support.
    • Pass-through connections for shield adapter boards.
  • Example designs for Arty Artix 7 (A7) 35T development boards.
    • Integrates the processor with standard Xilinx peripherals.
    • Example software tests.
  • Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) compatible Board Support Package (BSP) generation that is done through Xilinx Vivado Software Development Kit (SDK).
  • Support for simulation and FPGA implementation. The encrypted design can be:
    • Simulated in the Xilinx Vivado and Mentor QuestaSim simulators.
    • Implemented for FPGA in Xilinx Vivado.


The Cortex-M3 DesignStart FPGA-Xilinx edition package:

  • Can be used with any suitable Xilinx FPGA, but the example system design only supports one specific development board. You require version 2018.2 or later of the Xilinx Vivado tool.
  • Targets Windows development environment and uses Arm Keil Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK) for software development.

To use the example system designs, you require:

  • A Digilent Arty A7 development board or a supported Xilinx FPGA.
  • The board files provided by Digilent for this board or support files for any board that you use.
  • Xilinx Vivado.
  • Arm Keil MDK or a Cortex‑M compatible toolchain.
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