Sunday, December 7, 2014

ARM TrustZone technology - a Few Good Boards

ARM® provides a reference platform for software and hardware developers building systems based on ARM® Cortex®-A processors. The system is called the Juno ARM® Development Platform. The platform ships with a board that contains an ARM® Cortex®-A57 processor and ARM® Cortex®-A53 MPCore processor. The ARM® Cortex®-A57 processor and ARM® Cortex®-A57 processor are 64-bit and implement the ARM®v8-A instruction set architecture (ISA). A board support package can be built for this board using OpenEmbedded / Yocto.

The Apple® A7 and Apple® A8 chips in the iPhone® 5c, iPhone® 5s, iPhone® 6, and iPhone® 6 Plus are based on the ARM® Cortex®-A53 and ARM® Cortex®-A57. The Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa SoC also has an ARM® Cortex®-A57 and ARM® Cortex®-A53 MPCore. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has an 8-core Exynos 5433 processor in it.

Another development board is the Nvidia TK1 development board. This board has a quad-core ARM® Cortex®-A15 processor. These boards have been available for purchase at local retailers lately. However, the Nvidia K1 "Denver" is the latest product that they are working on and is not available for purchase yet. It is rumored that the project "Denver" board has an ARM® Cortex®-A57 and an ARM® Cortex®-A53 MPCore.

The Freescale I.MX 6 processor has been hugely popular across many industries in a variety of embedded products. Freescale sells a development board with the I.MX 6 processor on it. The board is called the SABRE board for intelligent devices. The SABRE board has a Freescale I.MX 6 Quad-Core ARM® Cortex®-A9 processor. Other vendors on the Internet sell their variation of this development board. One example is Boundary Devices. They sell their version of this board with the same Freescale I.MX 6 Quad-Core ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCore. A board support package can be built for both the Freescale SABRE board and the Boundary Devices board using OpenEmbedded / Yocto.

A few critical features of ARM development boards should be taken into account. Namely, the e-fuses should not be blown out of the box, and they should be left open. The fuses can be blown to fit a specific configuration.

Here is a quick overview of the processors and boards.

Dev Board
ARM® Cortex®-A57 and ARM® Cortex®-A53 MPCoreARM®ARM®v8-AJuno Ref PlatformYes
ARM® Cortex®-A15NvidiaARM®v7TK1Yes
ARM® Cortex®-A15SamsungARM®v7Arndale Exynos 5420Yes
ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCoreFreescaleARM®v7Freescale SABREYes
ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCoreFreescaleARM®v7Boundary DevicesYes
ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCore + Zync 7000 FPGAXilinxARM®v7Zed BoardYes
ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCore + Zync 7000 FPGAXilinxARM®v7Digilent                 

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