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Introducing SoM1-SOC: The Most Powerful SoM Based on PolarFire® SoC FPGA

By: Mans Ahmadian, Senior Design Engineer at Sundance DSP

In this blog post, we will discuss the features, benefits and applications of SoM1-SOC, a powerful system-on-module (SoM) based on PolarFire® System-on-Chip Field Programmable Gate Array (SoC FPGA), and review how you can use it in your projects.

Next-Level Embedded Systems with SoM1-SOC

After the successful launch of PolarBerry, the first System-on-Module (SoM) SBC based on PolarFire® System-on-Chip Field Programmable Gate Array (SoC FPGA), we received a lot of positive feedback and demand for a more powerful and versatile SOM based on the same technology. In response to this demand, we are proud to announce our new product: SoM1-SOC, an innovative system-on-module that uses the Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA, which combines a low-power FPGA with a 64-bit, Linux-capable RISC-V processor. This module offers a high level of security, performance and efficiency for embedded systems development.

In this blog post, we will present the features, benefits and applications of SoM1-SOC, and show you how it can be used for your projects! We will also compare it with PolarBerry and explain how SoM1-SOC builds on the features of PolarBerry, but with a larger and more powerful FPGA and more diverse connectivity options. We will also provide some examples of projects that use SoM1-SOC to demonstrate its capabilities and potential.

What is PolarBerry?

PolarBerry SoM

Before we introduce SoM1-SOC, let us briefly review what PolarBerry is and why it is a popular and successful product. PolarBerry is a system-on-module SBC that uses the Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA device, which integrates a low-power FPGA fabric with a 64-bit, Linux-capable RISC-V processor. PolarBerry has a Raspberry Pi-compatible interface and a small form factor, making it easy to use and integrate with various peripherals and sensors. PolarBerry was launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply in 2020. PolarBerry is suitable for various applications, such as edge computing, machine learning, industrial automation, IoT and more.

What is SoM1-SOC?

SoM1-SOC is a system-on-module that builds on the features of PolarBerry but with a larger and more powerful FPGA and more connectivity options. SoM1-SOC has a similar PolarFire SoC FPGA device as PolarBerry, which integrates a low-power FPGA fabric with a 64-bit, Linux-capable RISC-V processor. SoM1-SOC is one of the most feature-rich RISC-V-based SOCs available in the market. It can be used stand-alone by simply plugging a USB-C cable into the device, which acts as both a power supply, UART, JTAG and high-speed data transfers to a host system. Alternatively, SoM1-SOC can integrate with an SE301 carrier card, which expands the feature set even further, allowing the device to access an FMC HPC connector, four lanes of PCIe, high-speed networking via SFP+, a Display port for terminal output, SATA for data storage and a robust inter-module connection featuring four transceivers and a multitude of GPIO.

The image below shows SE301 with SOM1 and SOM1-SOC installed.

SoM1-SOC Features and Benefits:

Powerful FPGA Options

SoM1-SOC features the PolarFire SoC FPGA MPFS460T-1FCVG1152 as the default configuration, providing an impressive 461K logic cells, 20 high-speed transceivers and other advanced capabilities. For applications with lower resource requirements, an option to install the MPFS250T-1FCVG1152 with 254K logic cells is available, offering flexibility without compromising performance.

Memory Configuration

4 GB of 32-bit wide DDR4 memory (MT40A1G16TB-062EIT DDR4) dedicated to the Microprocessor Subsystem (MSS).

8 GB of 64-bit wide DDR4 memory (MT40A1G16TB-062EIT DDR4) for additional FPGA fabric memory, enhancing the module’s overall processing capabilities.

Storage Options

128MB SPI Serial NOR FLASH connected to the FPGA fabric for user application storage, providing non-volatile memory for storing critical data.

16 GByte of eMMC storage for Linux image storage and user applications, ensuring ample space for software and configurations.

Clocking Flexibility

Programmable clocks using SI5341A offer flexible clocking to both the FPGA and high-speed transceivers, enabling precise synchronization for various applications.

High-Speed Transceivers

20 high-speed low-power transceivers ranging from 250Mbps to 12.7Gbps, facilitating high-speed data transfers for demanding applications.

Connectivity Options

IOs via high-speed Samtec connectors (ADM6-100-01.5-L-4-2-TR), providing a robust interface for connecting external devices and peripherals.

SPI interface from FPGA routed to a high-speed Samtec connector, enhancing communication capabilities.

Additional Interfaces

USB Type-C connector with JTAG/UART bridge interface and power, simplifying connectivity and enabling versatile communication.

Industrial iX connector ND9AS1200 for 1Gbit Ethernet connection, ensuring reliable and high-speed networking capabilities.

Power Management

Power can be supplied either through the USB Type-C connector when operating as a stand-alone module or via ADM6 connectors when used with a carrier. This flexibility allows seamless integration into various setups.

Mechanical Specifications

The module adheres to compact dimensions of 85x65mm, providing a balance between size and functionality.

Temperature Range and Power Consumption

The module operates in a temperature range of 0°C to +70°C for extended temperature applications and -30 to 85 for industrial-grade environments.

Power consumption is 15W+ depending on the Programmable Logic (PL) design used, offering efficiency without compromising performance.

Use Cases of SoM1-SOC Across Industries

SoM1-SOC, with its advanced Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA and versatile features, caters to a wide range of industries, offering robust solutions for various applications.

  • Cryptographic key management for defense communications
  • Real-time signal intelligence for intelligence agencies
  • High-speed data packet processing for communications infrastructure
  • Real-time object recognition for machine learning and surveillance systems
  • Precision control for CNC machines and machine automation
  • Flight control systems for aerospace and avionics
  • Programmable Logic Controllers for industrial automation and control
  • Motor control and servo drives for robotic arms
  • Facial recognition access control for smart vision and security systems
  • Spectrum analyzers for test and measurement equipment
  • Base station processing for 5G infrastructure
  • Real-time image processing for medical and scientific instrumentation
  • Lane-keeping assist systems for automotive applications
  • Smart cameras for retail analytics and machine learning inference at the edge
  • Edge server for IoT devices and edge processing

SoM1-SOC’s adaptability and high-performance capabilities make it a versatile solution for diverse industries, addressing the complex computing needs of modern applications and contributing to advancements in technology across the board.

In conclusion, SoM1-SOC stands out as one of the most feature-rich PolarFire-based System-on-Modules on the market, catering to the diverse needs of complex embedded systems and empowering developers with a versatile and powerful platform for their projects.

Advantages of the SOM1-SOC

By using Sundance DSPs SOM1-SOC, a user can benefit from the following advantages:

  • The module can be used stand-alone by simply plugging a USB-C cable into the device, which acts as both a power supply, UART, JTAG and high-speed data transfers to a host system. This eliminates the need for additional hardware components and simplifies the development process.
  • The module can also be installed on an SE301, which is an 8-lane PCIe card with two slots: one for SoM1, based on a MPF500T, and another for SoM1-SOC based on a MPFS460T FPGA. This allows the customer to use two PolarFire SoMs simultaneously and access all of their features through one platform. This expands the functionality and flexibility of the module and enables the customer to integrate it with various applications and devices.
  • The module comes with abundant resources to meet the needs of complex embedded systems. These resources provide the customer with ample memory, storage, connectivity and logic capabilities to implement their desired functionality and performance.
  • The module supports the Linux operating system and RISC-V processor, which are open-source and widely used in the embedded systems industry. This allows the customer to leverage the existing software and hardware ecosystem and benefit from community support and collaboration. The customer can also customize and optimize their system according to their specific needs and preferences.

By using Sundance DSPs SOM1-SOC, a customer can reduce their development and time-to-market timeline by taking advantage of the module’s simplicity, versatility, functionality, performance, efficiency and security. The module provides the customer with a ready-to-use and customizable solution that can be easily integrated with various applications and devices. The module also enables the customer to benefit from the low-power and high-performance features of the PolarFire SoC FPGA and the open-source and widely used features of the Linux and RISC-V platforms. The module is one of the most feature-rich SOCs ever to be available on the market and can address the complex computing needs of modern applications across diverse industries.

About Sundance DSP

Sundance DSP is an innovative company that specializes in digital signal processing (DSP), field-programmable gate array (FPGA), input/output (IO) and radio frequency (RF) hardware, IP cores, libraries, application solutions and embedded and imaging systems. The company provides high-performance processor boards and modules for parallel processing applications in various fields, such as defense, imaging, testing, measurement, industrial control and military.

Sundance DSP also offers FPGA IP cores, design automation tools, DSP libraries and custom design services for various applications. The company has a worldwide clientele, including BAE Systems, Boeing, NASA, Nokia and Lockheed Martin. Sundance DSP is an alliance partner of Analog Devices, a leading global manufacturer of analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated. Sundance DSP is based in Reno, Nevada.

Sundance DSP is happy to provide our customers with all the needs they require to help their designs get from ideas to reality.

Please contact Sundance DSP at for more information regarding our offerings.


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