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Microblaze and PowerPC

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May 30, 2011
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I would like to perform mathematical operations as Division and Square root. From what i have read, i either need to use Microblaze or PowerPC. can anyone please tell me the difference in performance between them, and is it a hardware or software calculation. Does each one of these options has a dedicated FPU?

Thanks in advance.

The requirements of division and square root do not necessitate the implementation or use of a softcore or hardcore processor. It depends more on the overall project's performance and throughput requirements, IP cores for both division and square root do exist and presence of a CPU may or may not impact its overall success.

Here's a brief comparison of Microblaze Softcore and PowerPC Hardcore features:

One true advantage of the Microblaze, is its powerful flexibility and design customization. If you need two of Microblaze cores, it's not a problem as long as you have the square footage available on your FPGA.


division and square root are more complex then multiplication. Most other operations are also more complex. (erf, e^x, atan, ln). These operations typically are done in multiple cycles, possibly with pipelining for high performance. both xilinx and altera have IP cores for division and square root.

Thanks for your reply. Actually I have to use a processor anyway coz i am using Ethernet, CAN, SPI and USB cores, which requires a processor for simpler control. Therefore, i considered using the Microblaze or PowerPC for the mathematical operations. from what I understand using the hard processor PowerPC will achieve a much higher speed than the soft processor Microblaze, or is the FPU of Microblaze a hardware operation?

Well let me first ask you a question, what are you willing to pay for the Xilinx FPGA with an embedded PowerPC?

For example Xilinx XC5VFX Series range from $500 to $10,000 for just the FPGA, that's not a development board. And the gate count on the $500 entry level unit is nothing to brag about, 30K.

You can pickup a very nice Spartan 3E development board with all those peripherals you mentioned from Digilent, Inc. for just a couple hundred dollars:

And it supports the Xilinx EDK and Microblaze.

But if money's no object, I say go for it!

Virtex-5 FXT ML510 Embedded Development Platform

I'll have to ordering the ML510 if I win the bid for contract job, only $4000, Development Software not included, that's another $1500.

I thought I could get a Virtex 4 with PowerPC with gate count sufficient for all these cores for less than $1000. I want to perform effective voltage and current calculations of an analog signal, but the ADC is on an external ASIC. I was thinking these calculations will require the speed of PowerPC rather than Microblaze. Can you please tell me if the FPU of Microblaze is a hardware operation or not and its performance compared with PowerPC.
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