Dev Kit Weekly: Lattice Semiconductor MachXO3D Development Board

July 10, 2020 Perry Cohen

In this week’s Dev Kit Weekly, Perry is going on lock-down the MachX03D Development Board from Lattice Semiconductor.

The MachX03D development board is centered around Lattice’s latest FPGA of the same name. MachX03D devices are platform control FPGAs available with a couple of PLLs and either 4300 or 9400 LUTs, and build on the hot-socketing, instant-on, and soft error detection support included in previous generations of the MachX0x product line to include a range of cutting edge hardware security features.

These start with an immutable embedded security block, which contains ECD-SA, EAS, SHA, and a number of other cryptographic functions that Lattice has had certified under the NIST Platform Firmware Resiliency Guidelines and Cryptographic Algorithm Validation Program.

The block also houses a unique secure ID, and is capable of generating and storing public and private keys. In other words, it functions as a hardware root of trust, which allows MachX03D devices to be positioned as security controllers on any system circuit board to lock down embedded systems against IP theft, cloning, and tampering – all the way from manufacture to EoL.

A good way to illustrate the MachX03D as a first-on, last-off security controller is the instant-on  feature that fires up the circuitry in less than 5 milliseconds The security engine comes in handy once again during this process by providing encryption and authentication mechanisms that permit only trusted FPGA configurations to be loaded onto the device from only internal flash.

Once powered on, FPGA logic is immediately configured from up to 2700 kilobits of on-chip flash, which is protected by security bits or “lock bits” that control access to memory. The devices interface directly with the host CPU over 1 volt I/O and support for enhanced data rates of 900 Mbps. Up to six multi-standard I/O banks on the MachX03D enable native connectivity for as many as 383 I/Os over technologies such as PCIe, Gigabit Ethernet, LVDS, low-voltage CMOS, standard SPI and I2C serial interfaces, SSTL for connecting to DRAM, a MIPI D-PHY physical layer, and I3C compatibility, among others.

Another significant feature of the MachX03D brought to you by the integrated flash memory is dual-boot functionality. The dual-boot also means that the device can be safely re-programmed in the event that system firmware does somehow become compromised.

Elsewhere on the memory front, the on-chip user flash allows developers to add security extensions if so desired, and 73 kbits of RAM and 432 kbits of SRAM are also present.

Because the MachX03D FPGAs are designed on an energy-efficient 65 nm non-volatile process, you don’t even have to spend much in the way of power.

But all that is just the chip, and we haven’t even gotten to the rest of the MachX03D Development Board yet. The kit comes with a USB-B port that delivers 2.5 or 3.3 volts, and also functions as the programming interface. Hardware management is enabled through another Lattice device, the L-ASC10 analog sense and control rail located here, which lets you monitor board conditions like voltage, current, and temperature.

To help get started with prototyping, Lattice has slapped an additional 128 Megabits of 16 Megabit per second external SPI flash on the board. In terms of expansion, the MachX03D also has multiple header positions that offer GPIO compatibility with Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards, as well as access to the Aardvark and Hirose debuggers. A 4-position DIP switch, multiple pushbuttons, and a bunch of LEDs.

To get up and running, you’ll access the board using Lattice’s Diamond development environment, and to support your secure design efforts the company has also included a bunch of reference designs, application notes, and example solutions that demonstrate the MachX03D as a secure control PLD, secure server, or how it can be used to implement a chain of trust.

You can pick up a MachX03D development board for just $149 from latticestore.com.

Further, for a limited time, Lattice is holding a 70% off sale, which means you can get the MachX03D development board for just $49.95, and the even less expensive MachX03D breakout board for just $19.95 compared to its usual price of $59.

If you want to access this state of the art security at a premium, sign up for this week’s raffle by filling out the form you can access via the link on the screen or in the description below, and you’ll be entered to win one of three of these kits at no cost at all. We’ll even pay the shipping.

About the Author

Perry Cohen

Perry Cohen, associate editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content editing and creation in addition to podcast production. He also assists with the publication’s social media efforts which include strategic posting, follower engagement, and social media analysis. Before joining the ECD editorial team, Perry has been published on both local and national news platforms including KTAR.com (Phoenix), ArizonaSports.com (Phoenix), AZFamily.com, Cronkite News, and MLB/MiLB among others. Perry received a BA in Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State university. He can be reached by email at <a href="mailto:perry.cohen@opensysmedia.com">perry.cohen@opensysmedia.com</a>. Follow Perry’s work and ECD content on his twitter account @pcohen21.

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