Welcome to the NEO430 processor project!
You need a small but still powerful, customizable and microcontroller-like processor system for your next FPGA design? Then the NEO430 is the perfect choice for you!
This processor is based on the Texas Instruments MSP430 ISA and provides 100% compatibility with the original instruction set. The NEO430 is not an MSP430 clone – it is more a complete new implementation from the bottom up. The processor features a very small outline, already implementing standard features like a timer, a watchdog, UART and SPI serial interfaces, general purpose IO ports, an internal bootloader and of course internal memory for program code and data. All of the peripheral modules are optional – so if you do not need them, you can exclude them from implementation to reduce the size of the system. Any additional modules, which make a more customized system, can be connected via a Wishbone-compatible bus interface. By this, you can built a system, that perfectly fits your needs.
It is up to you to use the NEO430 as stand-alone, configurable and extensible microcontroller, or to include it as controller within a more complex SoC design.
The high-level software development is based on the free TI msp430-gcc compiler tool chain. You can either use Windows or Linux/Cygwin as build environment for your applications – the project comes with build scripts for both worlds. The example folder of this project features several demo programs, from which you can start creating your own NEO430 applications.
This project is intended to work "out of the box". Just synthesize the test setup from this project, upload it to your FPGA board of choice and start exploring the capabilities of the NEO430 processor. Application program generation (and even installation) works by executing a single "make" command.
NEO430 block diagram, optional modules
are marked using dashed lines
|The NEO430 processor features separated internal memories for data and instructions. The size of the instruction memory (IMEM) can be configured to a maximal size of 48kB. This memory can either be implemented as RAM, allowing you to upload new application programs at any time using the bootloader. Also, this bootloader allows to fetch an application image from an external SPI EEPROM at system start-up. By this, you have the advantage of a re-programmable but non-volatile program storage. The internal data memory (DMEM) can have a size of up to 12kB. This program space is used for variables and of course for the heap and the stack of your program. All peripheral devices are memory-mapped and require a special linker script and dedicated C include files to be accessed. Therefore, you need to recompile your programs with the supplied tool chain to make them run on the NEO430.|
If you are using the NEO430 for some publication, please cite it as follows:
S. Nolting, "The NEO430 Processor", github.com/stnolting/neo430
S. Nolting, "The NEO430 Processor", opencores.org/project/neo430
If you have any questions about the NEO430 or if you want to give any kind of feedback, feel free to drop me some lines ;)