I need advice here.

One of my mid term hobby projects is to build an instruction set emulator of popular ISAs (e.g. ARM7) on a FPGA device. A lot of people have done this before.

My requirements are specific. I am looking for a development platform with SoC reference project and onboard peripheral support. Idea is to focus only on the CPU while the rest of the stuff comes from a reference project. It should be possible to compile and download an application in C into onboard volatile memory such as SDRAM have the soft core execute it.

What could be a possible development platform?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Take a look at opencores.com \$\endgroup\$
    – Jay M
    Aug 6, 2013 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


You can either use the ARM7 softcore that exist on OpenCores.

Or you can use an FPGA with an integrated ARM processor in it, the processor are not ARM7, but Cortex M3 in case of MicoSemi SmartFusion and SmartFusion2, or Xilinx Zynq FPGA that has a dual core Cortex A9, or Altera's Cyclone V which also has a dual core Cortex A9.

They all have development boards available with a free Software Development Environment to be used with their systems.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Morgan and Farhad. I have dowloaded AMBER from opencore and must evaluate next if it can be hosted on a spartan 3e dvice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raj
    Aug 12, 2013 at 10:48

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