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Debug probes expand PowerPC support

Jul 17, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 23 views

Abatron's Linux-friendly hardware debug probes now support PowerPC 460EX and 460GT system-on-chips (SoCs), says the Swiss tools vendor. Abatron's BDI1000, BDI2000, and BDI3000 probes “and their associated applications” are said to provide debugging and control of the AMCC… processors.

(Click for larger view of Abatron's BDI3000 probe)

The 460EX targets high-end industrial control, imaging, and networking applications, while the 460GT is designed for wireless infrastructure. Announced last Fall, the SoCs clock from 667MHz to 1.2GHz, with a claimed 2.0 Dhrystone MIPS/MHz rating. Both offer similar specs, with low power dissipation, a floating point unit, and an optional security engine. The 460GT also offers interfaces for Serial RapidIO (SRIO).

AMCC's 460EX Canyonlands board
(Click for details)

According to Abatron, the BDI3000's support for 46x SoCs can be enabled via a firmware update. Also available are bdiGDB configuration files for the 460EX Canyonlands (pictured at right) and 460GT Glacier Linux-based development kits that AMCC announced in April. The files enable background-mode debugging and JTAG debugging with GNU Debugger (GDB) software. Another software option appears to be the commercial, Eclipse-based Linuxscope-JTD (JTAG target debugger).

Abatron shipped its BDI3000 debugger in January. Compared to the BDI2000, the new model supports lower target voltages, and offers a faster 10/100 Ethernet interface of up to 32Mbps, claims Abatron. Flash programming speeds have been boosted to a claimed 32MHz, and download speeds are as fast as 1.5Mbps, says the company. The BDI3000 previously supported JTAG debugging for AMCC's PowerPC 405 and 440 processors, as well as ARM, XScale, MIPS32, and as of last week, the MIPS64-based Cavium Octeon.

Stated Charlie Ashton, Director of Enablement at AMCC, “Many of our customers worldwide use Abatron's probes with PowerPC 405 and 440 processor families. We expect that trend to continue with the new Power Architecture 460EX and 460GT.”


Upgraded firmware for the BDI probes is available now from Ultimate Solutions, which claims to be the only stocking distributor of Abatron products in the Americas. The firmware is priced at $1,000, or $1,400 with priority-access support. A perpetual license for the optional Linuxscope-JTD debugging suite adds $2,500. More information and links to international distributors are available from Abatron's site.

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