An interesting collaboration gives embedded software developers access to Mentor Graphics’ Vista virtual platforms that support Altera’s entire SoC FPGA portfolio, including its third-generation 14 nm Stratix 10 SoCs with a 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor. Access to the software could result in a significant time to market advantage while simultaneously reducing cost.
The Vista virtual platforms are pre-built, fully functional simulation models of the ARM processor subsystems found in each of Altera’s 14 nm, 20 nm, and 28 nm SoC FPGA families. Software developers can use the Stratix 10 SoC virtual platform to start embedded software development and debug for the integrated 64-bit ARMv8-based processor subsystem before first silicon becomes available.
Another benefit is that SoC virtual platforms simplify embedded software development and reduce the need for expensive hardware by allowing development teams to develop their application software and perform software regression testing in a virtual environment that models an Altera SoC FPGA.
The virtual platforms are comprised of an instruction-set-simulator CPU model plus peripheral device models, delivered as a stand-alone binary executable, which is downloaded, installed, and run together with a pre-built Linux image on a host PC. The virtual platforms support both bare-metal and Linux OS environments.