Cambridge Consultants

Cambridge Consultants

Design Support

Cambridge Consultants supports XAP application developers with tools such as xIDE, xSIF, xEMU and GCC, which combine to get products to market faster and reduce project risk. xIDE is a fully-featured Integrated Development Environment for XAP4 and XAP5 that includes a source-level debugger and instruction set simulator. Python script support automates tasks and can extend simulation to model other parts of a chip design. The processor's GNU tool-chain integrates with xIDE, making the assembler, linker and C compiler easier to use.

Application software development can be simplified with customized versions of xIDE including software plug-ins that interface to a specific chip. Cambridge Consultants can extend xIDE with such plug-ins and add the licensee's brand identity. These versions of xIDE can then be distributed under license. For added flexibility, ASIC designers using XAP4 or XAP5 can implement a ROM patch system whereby selected function calls are redirected to code held in RAM.

Cambridge Consultants' xSIF interface provides a non-invasive debug facility capable of fully controlling the XAP core and acquiring data from inside the processor and any of its memory-mapped peripherals. This allows a full investigation of chip behavior (except where prohibited by the MMU's hardware security design). xSIF uses a high-speed four-wire serial interface with handshake for fast debug access. Development PCs connect via an intelligent SIF pod. xSIF can also run over JTAG when used for manufacturing test. Developers using xSIF can investigate real time system behavior in conjunction with their development and debug tool chain. xSIF enables non-invasive access into the memory map of any chip design and can be used for development, characterization, production test, calibration and field service.

Cambridge Consultants also offers hardware emulation boards for pre-silicon design verification; xEMU mini or xEMU. The xEMU boards combine with SIF pods to provide ASIC hardware emulation and debug platforms with a range of FPGA devices. These are used to verify ASIC designs in their intended applications prior to tape-out. With designs prototyped on xEMU, software development can proceed in advance of ASIC silicon availability. xEMU boards may also be used as single board computers for XAP application development. XAP4 and XAP5 documentation and evaluation versions of the software tools are available from Cambridge Consultants' web site.