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Embedded Linux platform ships for MIPS multicore SoCs

Nov 17, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Mentor Graphics is shipping a version of its Mentor Embedded Linux development platform supporting networking applications developed on NetLogic Microsystems' MIPS-based multicore, multithreaded system-on-chips (SoCs). The Mentor platform, which is available in a free “Essentials” version as well as a commercial version, supports the XLR and XLS families today, with support for the newer XLP processors planned shortly.

Announced in May, the version of Mentor Embedded Linux supporting NetLogic's multicore, multi-threaded processors is primarily targeted at next-generation 3G/4G mobile wireless infrastructure, says Mentor Graphics. Other applications are said to include enterprise, storage, security, metro Ethernet, edge, and core infrastructure network applications.

Mentor Embedded Linux architecture
(Click to enlarge)

Mentor is offering both a full commercial version of Mentor Embedded Linux (pictured above), as well as a free "Essentials" version (below). The stripped-down Essentials version "has been created to enable silicon evaluation and system prototyping," says Mentor Graphics.

Mentor Embedded Linux Essentials for NetLogic Processors architecture

Mentor Embedded Linux Essentials includes an Eclipse IDE, tool chain, and Linux BSP (board support package). The full commercial version provides a comprehensive Linux environment, development tools, and support for a unified workflow methodology, says the company.

The software supporting the XLR and XLS processors is available today, but customers will have to wait a bit for the version that supports the newer, 40nm-fabricated XLP. NetLogic's XLP832 can mix eight "EC4400" cores clocked at 500MHz to over 2GHz, and offers three times the performance per Watt of the company's previous XLR SoCs, which were introduced in 2005, claims NetLogic.

Like the XLP, the XLR integrates four or eight MIPS64 cores. However, each is clocked at only 1.5GHz, and the cores lack superscalar capability.

The lower end XLS family includes the XLS208 SoC introduced in 2008. The XLS208 offers dual 1GHz cores, and like the other Netlogic XLx processors, comes with a Linux-compatible evaluation board and software development kit (SDK).

For much more on Mentor Embedded Linux, see our June coverage of the version supporting Freescale's PowerPC-based QorIQ and PowerQUICC processors, here. For more on NetLogic's processors and the company's relationship with Mentor Graphics, see our initial coverage of the Mentor for NetLogic story, here.

Stated Glenn Perry, general manager of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division, "This new embedded Linux model delivers unprecedented levels of technical collaboration, leveraging Mentor's strengths in multi-core-based design and optimization, which is an ideal match with NetLogic Microsystems' high-performance multi-core, multi-threaded processors."

Stated Behrooz Abdi, executive vice president and general manager at NetLogic Microsystems, "Our unified methodologies and tools will help quickly build and validate Linux-based designs by providing substantial time and cost savings for our customers, as well as result in greater product innovations."


The Mentor Embedded Linux platform is now available for NetLogic Microsystems' XLR and XLS processors, with support for the XLP family due shortly. The Mentor Embedded Linux Essentials for NetLogic Microsystems' Processors platform is freely downloadable, here. More information on Mentor Embedded Linux in general may be found here.

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