Open and Easy Microprocessor Designs Using the LatticeMico32
Source: Lattice Semiconductor
Three important benefits of the embedded microprocessor approach are driving this trend. The first is that a soft processor provides the preferred way to implement control-plane functionality in an FPGA while leaving the datapath functionality to the programmable hardware. Control plane functionality that can be implemented in software rather than hardware allows the designer much greater freedom to make changes. Also, many control plane functions are just too difficult to reasonably implement in hardware. The second benefit is that, with software-based processing, it is possible for the hardware logic to remain stable because functional upgrades can be made through software modification. The third benefit is that FPGA embedded soft processors will not become obsolete. One of the risks that any user faces when designing with an off-the-shelf microprocessor is obsolescence.