Evaluation of soft-core processors on a Xilinx Virtex-5 field programmable gate array. Page: 3 of 37
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Printed April 2011
Evaluation of Soft-Core Processors on a Xilinx
Virtex-5 Field Programmable Gate Array
Mark W. Learn
Sensors & Embedded Systems, 2623
Sandia National Laboratories
P.O. Box 5800
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0661
Node-based architecture (NBA) designs for future satellite projects hold the promise
of decreasing system development time and costs, size, weight, and power and
positioning the laboratory to address other emerging mission opportunities quickly.
Reconfigurable field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based modules will comprise
the core of several of the NBA nodes. Microprocessing capabilities will be necessary
with varying degrees of mission-specific performance requirements on these nodes.
To enable the flexibility of these reconfigurable nodes, it is advantageous to
incorporate the microprocessor into the FPGA itself, either as a hard-core processor
built into the FPGA or as a soft-core processor built out of FPGA elements. This
document describes the evaluation of three reconfigurable FPGA-based soft-core
processors for use in future NBA systems: the MicroBlaze (uB), the open-source
Leon3, and the licensed Leon3. Two standard performance benchmark applications
were developed for each processor. The first, Dhrystone, is a fixed-point operation
metric. The second, Whetstone, is a floating-point operation metric. Several trials
were run at varying code locations, loop counts, processor speeds, and cache
configurations. FPGA resource utilization was recorded for each configuration.
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Learn, Mark Walter. Evaluation of soft-core processors on a Xilinx Virtex-5 field programmable gate array., report, April 1, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836670/m1/3/: accessed January 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.