Arm is expanding its DesignStart program to bring Arm-based Linux development within reach. The company is offering a low-cost route to developing Cortex-A5 based Linux-capable ASICs for embedded Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Developers can now get access to the Arm Cortex-A5 processor for an one-year access fee of $75k, including one year of support. An alternative option of $150k access fee includes three years of support to help achieve right-first-time silicon.
The DesignStart program now provides access to the Cortex-A5 processor through a web portal and a simplified contract. Its small footprint (<0.3mm when implemented on a 40nm process) and ultra-high efficiency (~100uW/MHz active power when implemented on a 40nm process) allows for reduced fabrication costs and the lowest idle power among Cortex-A CPUs. It offers between 70% and 80% of the performance of Cortex-A7, Cortex-A9, and Cortex-A32 processors. It can be configured as a fully coherent quad-core design with advanced SIMD data processing, and a high-performance accelerator port for fast connection to machine learning or other custom processors.
The Cortex-A5 will also enable machine learning applications with Arm's Neural Network inference engine, which is part of Linaro's Machine Learning Initiative.
In addition to this, last week ARM announced Mbed Linux OS, which builds on the company's Mbed OS solution - an IoT platform OS with more than 350,000 developers. This enables secure development and device management through the Pelion IoT Platform of IoT devices based on Cortex-A for the first time.
The Cortex-A5 package in DesignStart includes flexible system IP for area and power-optimized SoC development. Arm CoreLink NIC-400 provides configurable and low-power connectivity. The package also includes
industry-standard CoreSight debug and trace solution, and TrustZone technology provides hardware-enforced isolation to establish a secure root of trust.
Developers can also benefit from design enablement platforms being supported by ARM's partners with process technology ranging from 250nm to 5nm.