ARM’s latest release of its Fast Models (v6.1) adds support for the ARM Cortex-A15 and Cortex-R5 processor cores. Fast Models are a real boon to System Realization teams because they provide a very easy way to test out large amounts of software using virtual prototyping environments such as the Cadence Virtual System Platform. Fast Models work across the entire simulation spectrum but using fast processor models in a virtual prototyping environment delivers a significant increase in simulation speed, as shown in this chart presented by Rob Kaye at the CDN Live! EMEA conference held last May in Munich, Germany.
As you can see from the above chart, fast processor models running in a virtual prototype can execute application code at more than 100 million cycles/sec as opposed to RTL simulations that are more than three orders of magnitude slower for very large processor-based systems. Virtual prototyping provides System Realization teams with practical ways to develop and profile software early in a product’s development cycle. Without virtual prototyping, that work must wait for either prototype hardware or actual chips, a delay that can spell the difference between a successful product introduction and a late introduction that misses the market window.
This next image, also from Kaye’s presentation, shows you how an ARM Fast Model fits into a SystemC and OSCI TLM 2.0 virtual prototyping environment. The Fast Model is wrapped in a TLM 2.0 SystemC wrapper so that it can work in concert with SystemC models of other system blocks, including other processor models in multicore designs. All of these models operate within the SystemC Virtual Platform, which provides a software testbed long before any real hardware is available.
Note that the use of SystemC and fast processor models gives the software-development team much better instrumentation into the inner workings of the system design through debug and trace facilities not necessarily provided by the hardware. This feature is a significant advantage of virtual prototyping systems.
The addition of the ARM Cortex-A15 processor core to the list of supported processors in the latest ARM Fast Models package means that ARM’s largest, most powerful processor core is now immediately available to System Realization teams contemplating the use of that processor core.
For more EDA360 Insider coverage of the ARM Cortex-A15 processor core, see:
For more EDA360 Insider coverage of the Cortex-R5 processor core, see: