The PowerPC Overview


The PowerPC architecture is an open-platform developed by IBM, that began around 1990. The PPC architecture is located in many commercial embedded systems – used by companies such as Freescale and Microsoft. Xilinx has partnered with IBM to develop the PowerPC 405 – a 32-bit reduced instruction set processor that has been integrated with the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro and Pro X series FPGAs. The core contains features such as on-chip memory, hardware multipliers and dividers, hardware timers, 16KB 2-way set-associative caches for data and instruction, just to name a few.

The PowerPC 405 <-> FPGA Interconnect

((Insert Reference Diagram 1))

The PowerPC control spreads out in a tree-like fashion within the FPGA. The core, itself, connects to the Instruction and Data On-Chip-Memory controllers, which then interface with the FPGA Block RAM. The core is also directly attached to two busses: The CoreConnect Device Control Register (DCR) Bus, and the CoreConnect Processor Local Bus (PLB). The CoreConnect interface is a bus protocol developed by IBM.
From Xilinx:

The Device Control Register (DCR) bus is designed to transfer data between the CPU's general purpose registers (GPRs) and the DCR slave logic's 
device control registers (DCRs). The DCR bus removes configuration registers from the memory address map, which reduces loading and improves
bandwidth of the PLB. 

The PLB Bus is 64bits-wide and designed to interface with peripherals that require high-speed priority access to the core, such as memory controller-type peripherals. Slower peripherals, such as general-purpose-input-output (GPIO) devices, can connect to the CoreConnect On-Chip Peripheral Bus (OPB). The OPB interfaces with the PLB using a PLB-OPB Bridge peripheral for control.

The PowerPC 405 Architecture

((Insert Reference Diagram 2))

The PPC 405 architecture is simple (from the abstract standpoint). It contains the CPU, Memory Management Unit, Debugging Access (via JTAG or Trace) for use with applications such as the Xilinx Microprocessor Debugger (XMD), Time unit, and two caches – one for data and one for instruction.

The CPU uses a 5-stage instruction pipeline. It has 32 32bit general purposes registers and hardware multipliers and adders. The Execute unit can support all 32bit PowerPC UISA integer instructions. There is no hardware support for floating-point operations, but they may be implemented in software.

The Memory Management Unit (MMU) can support up to 4GB of address space and allows for variable page sizes. It also features software control over page-replacement method used. Page sizes can be between 1KB and 16MB.

The debug resources allow the PowerPC to be read and controlled (tracing/event triggering). Debugging operations are done through registers, which can be accessed by software or a JTAG interface. Using the JTAG interface, registers can be read and written using XMD, or more advanced control over the PowerPC can be achieved by using ChipScope.

The timing mechanism in the PowerPC has a 64bit time base, which three types of timers are able to draw upon – the Programming Interval Timer (PIT), the Fixed Interval Timer (FIT), and the Watchdog Timer (WDT). The PIT is a 32bit countdown timer, which causes an interrupt when its count reaches zero. The FIT causes a binary interrupt when a user-chosen bit in the 64bit time base changes from a 0 to a 1. There four pre-defined bits that may be user may choose from. The WDT has the same functionality as the FIT, but instead of causing an interrupt when a chosen 0 to 1 bit transition occurs, the WDT causes a hardware reset. The user may customize the type of reset that occurs. Timer API and information can be found in the IP Catalog of XPS, under the “Timer” section.

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Last modified 16 years ago Last modified on Aug 3, 2006, 1:59:26 PM