Sunday, December 7, 2014

ARM TrustZone technology - a Few Good Boards

ARM provides the Juno ARM Development Platform, a reference platform for software and hardware developers building systems based on ARM Cortex-A processors. This platform contains a board that houses an ARM Cortex-A57 processor and the ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore processor. Both processors are 64-bit and implement the ARMv8-A instruction set architecture (ISA). Developers can build a board support package for this board using OpenEmbedded/Yocto.

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

The Nvidia TK1 development board, which has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor, is currently available for purchase. However, the latest board from Nvidia, known as "Denver", which is rumored to contain the ARM Cortex-A57 and the ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore, is not yet available for purchase.

The Freescale I.MX 6 processor has been widely adopted across various industries for a range of embedded products. Freescale offers the SABRE board for intelligent devices, a development board that features the I.MX 6 Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. Boundary Devices also sells their variation of this board with the same ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore. Developers can build a board support package for both the Freescale SABRE board and the Boundary Devices board using OpenEmbedded/Yocto.

When working with ARM development boards, it is important to take into account a few critical features. Specifically, e-fuses should not be blown out of the box and 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 MPCoreARMARMv8-AJuno Ref PlatformYes
ARM Cortex-A15NvidiaARMv7TK1Yes
ARM Cortex-A15SamsungARMv7Arndale Exynos 5420Yes
ARM Cortex-A9 MPCoreFreescaleARMv7Freescale SABREYes
ARM Cortex-A9 MPCoreFreescaleARMv7Boundary DevicesYes
ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore + Zync 7000 FPGAXilinxARMv7Zed BoardYes
ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore + Zync 7000 FPGAXilinxARMv7Digilent                 

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