Trion T20 BGA256 FPGA Development Kit Supports “PulseRain Reindeer” RISC-V RV32IM soft CPU

A few months ago I wrote about FireAnt low-cost FPGA development board powered by Efinix Trion T8 FPGA, and it was the first time I personally heard about the company.

Trion FPGA family range from the T4 with 3,888 logic elements up to the Trion T200 with 192,000 LE’s. A board more powerful than FireAnt, but not quite high-end, recently showed up on Digikey with Trion T20 BGA256 development kit going for $150.

Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit
Click to Enlarge

Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit specifications:

  • FPGA – Efinix Trion T20 FPGA with 19,728 LE’s, 1,044 Kbit embedded RAM, 36 18×18 multipliers, 7 PPL’s, up to 220 GPIO’s; 256-ball FBGA (13×13 mm)
  • System Memory – 256 Mbit SDR SDRAM
  • Storage – NOR flash
  • USB – 1x Micro-USB port for programming
  • Debug / Configuration – SPI and JTAG headers to facilitate configuration
  • Expansion
    • 3x I/O headers to connect to external devices
    • LVDS TX header, LVDS RX & clock header
  • Misc – 8x user LED’s, 3x user push-buttons, 3x user DIP switches, 50 and 74.25 MHz oscillators
  • Power Supply – 5VDC via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – N/A
Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit Block Diagram
Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit Block Diagram

The Trion T20 BGA256 development kit includes a Trion T20 BGA256 development board, a USB cable, four standoffs, and four screws. Applications include prototyping for I/O expansion, control plane, processing/coprocessing, IoT, industrial, medical computing, and acceleration and deep learning in edge devices among others.

The company explains their Trion development kit uses the Efinix Efinity software which provides a complete tool flow from RTL design to bitstream generation, including synthesis, place-and-route, and timing analysis. It comes with a GUI, but there’s also support for the command line, and the software supports both Verilog HDL and VHDL languages.

Trion T20 PulseRain RISC-V Soft Core
PulseRain Reindeer – Click to Enlarge

But while looking for information about the board on the net, I discovered “PulseRain Reindeer for Efinix Trion T20 BGA256 Development Kit” on Github. PulseRain Reindeer is a soft CPU of Von Neumann architecture leveraging RISC-V RV32I[M] instruction set, and featuring a 2 x 2 pipeline. Configuration tested on Trion T20:

  • RV32I processor core, Von Neumann Architecture
  • 48KB Block RAM for code and data
  • 1x UART TX
  • 32-bit GPIO

To make development easier, an Arduino board support package has also been provided on GitHub so that developers can write code for RISC-V directly in the Arduino IDE.

More details about the development kit and Trion T20 FPGA can be found on the product page.

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