Author Topic: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?  (Read 1751 times)

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Online glenenglishTopic starter

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Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« on: June 05, 2024, 05:24:31 am »
Has anyone got any Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tool experience (and also has other tool experience)
what's it like ?

I'm considering Polarfire for something.

I've used Lattice, was a bit "meh". XIlinx is good. Efinix is ... getting better.
-glen
 

Offline Daixiwen

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2024, 09:37:25 am »
I'm using Libero SoC with Polarfire FPGAs and it's... a huge step back from Vivado, but it's usable. It crashes from time to time but it is usually solved by clearing the project and opening it again. It does have sometimes the huge kind of crash with no information about the error and where you can spend days headscratching trying to find the cause.
The FPGA itself is great. The documentation for the hardware part is okay, but the documentation for the embedded software... well if you try to do anything that is a bit different than their examples, you will struggle a bit. Also their examples look like they have been written by trainees straight out of university. They work, but there is a lot of inconsistencies and code quality vary a lot from module to module. I have nothing against using trainees, but maybe not for code examples that are supposed to show their customers how to properly do things ;)
FPGA debugging is the least practical offer of the 3 tools I tried. It's even less usable than the one from Vivado, and I really miss the ease of use of SignalTap (Altera).

Integration between the hardware (Libero) and software (SoftConsole) design tools is... meh. On par with Altera, and also a step back if you are used to the Vivado integration with Vitis.

if you have any specific question I can try and answer.
 

Online glenenglishTopic starter

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2024, 09:53:17 am »
Hi Daixiwen

thanks for the comments. Yeah, FPGA reads as a good feature set.
Since that post, I've read a bunch of  reviews and options and forum discussion I have read  lead me to think I should avoid it ....
My stuff is low volume , time expensive so I dont want the tools crashing. I'm used to the best tools , though they all suck to some degree.

I'll stick with the Ultrascale+ MPSoC / Spartan 7 / AU7P

You know what it's like- there is alot invested in knowing the device..... The MPSoC is a beast to know. There didnt seem to be as much doco on the Polarfire SoC as I would expected there needed to be.

There  is a big step up in  XIlinx device cost when going to any sort of SoC with 10 Gbit transceivers,  mainly because their mid tier stuff has all 6 Gb transceivers.
I use mostly ZU2CG, has 4 x 6Gb transceivers.  But I've been sniffing around for devices that handle 10 Gb ethernet easily.

I've also been evaluating and done a couple of designs with Efinix Titanium.  and we're still waiting for the Ti375, at least the pinout of the 1152 BGA device with 16 x 12 Gbit transceivers is out..... That's a killer if the place and route tools can improve.

Local support here in Australia is good for Microchip,  Like you say, the Polarfire FPGA devices are good.

regards,
 

Offline Daixiwen

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2024, 10:36:15 am »
My personal list by order of suckiness (from least to most) is Vivado, Quartus, Libero. So yes if it's a low volume and you can absorb the higher cost of the FPGA, just use a Xilinx. It may not be worth the time to get used to Libero
 
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Offline matrixofdynamism

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2024, 11:36:39 pm »
I have used Libero and Vivado and Quartus for many years.
5+ Quartus.
3+ Libero.
1+ Vivado.

I would recommend to anyone, if you love your life, if you love sanity, if you don't want to commit suicide then don't use Libero.

The silicon from Microsemi is quite nice. The documentation is ok, could be better. But the tools are hopeless. The debug features look good on paper but often crash or show "Error detected" or "Uknown error occured" and crash and there is no way to really find out what was the actual problem.

I would say from personel experience that if you want people to hate being an engineer and just resign and leave, put them on project that uses Libero and don't let them change. In best case scenario they will resign and worst case scenario they will commit suicide after shooting everyone in the office.

I am not joking. If you have choice then NEVER go for Libero. You want their silicon? OK. Prototype design and test it with Intel or Xilinx tools and then put it on Microsemi FPGA.

Intel/Altera tools are best when compared with the rest, their silicon lags behind Xilinx. Microsemi is mainly niche with their ProASIC and Flash based FPGAs.
 

Online glenenglishTopic starter

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2024, 11:44:06 pm »
Hi. thanks for the comments

Seems to be a common theme with microchip/microsemi - . love the silicon. tools suck++.

Altera is on a leapfrog  with XIlinx right now with the Agilex 5 I think, at least in midrange .  looking good. same tools and datasheets  for 30k-3M gates . just speed diff. which is interesting that they have a seemingly 2:1 speed binning on the same mask set (10nm) .

I really wanted to use Polarfire SoC/ Polarfire 2 SoC . but, back to ZYNQ for the moment.. groan.... (for designs where the MPSoC is too much chip) .

I dont mind Efinix tools, they dont do much, so I guess cant get into real trouble and  lately dont crash.
 

Online tom66

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2024, 09:53:59 am »
We use Libero for some of our products and it is bloody terrible.  The implementation and synthesis is single threaded and very slow.  The timer/retimer is highly sensitive to minute variations in logic design which can create non-working products very easily.   The tool crashes easily and has other random bugs and errors (not that Vivado is immune to this but it occurs less often!)
 
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2024, 11:08:23 pm »
We use Libero for some of our products and it is bloody terrible.  The implementation and synthesis is single threaded and very slow.  The timer/retimer is highly sensitive to minute variations in logic design which can create non-working products very easily.   The tool crashes easily and has other random bugs and errors (not that Vivado is immune to this but it occurs less often!)

Yes, I have also had to work with Libero at some point, and it was very painful. It was a few years ago though, but I'm guessing that it hasn't much improved.
 

Offline Daixiwen

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Re: Microsemi/Microchip Polarfire tools . what are they like ?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2024, 08:23:45 am »
The only thing changing in new versions of FPGA tools over time is the installation space taken on the hard drive :D
 
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