[lowrisc-dev] Memory-mapped SPI flash on Nexys4?

Michael Clark michaeljclark at mac.com
Thu Jul 28 22:43:14 BST 2016

Hi Wei,

I could give it a try.

I don't really have much time to take risk so I'm focusing my effort on things I'm more certain about and that's the software side.

If I had the time I would spend time learning Chisel and Verilog.

What about adding this cache control to BOOM and using BOOM in lowRISC? I guess both Rocket and BOOM need it. Are you considering BOOM?


Sent from my iPhone

> On 29/07/2016, at 1:54 AM, Wei Song <ws327 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> Hello Michael,
> It is possible to configure an FPGA using a bitstream in Flash. For this
> purpose, there is no need to change any hardware design.
> What I understand, the trick is all on the Vivado software.
> As long as the bitstream is correctly put into the FLASH using Vivado,
> with correct jumpers on board, FPGA will be configured from Flash.
> See Nexys4DDR demos for more information.
> I have not done this before and probably will not support it as a way to
> run lowRISC demo, unless there are benefits to do so.
> The changes I have made to current lowRISC is to allow reusing the spare
> Flash space as an execution in place (XIP) ROM.
> Therefore a bootloader, such as coreboot, can be put there.
> Also with some benefit that the bootloader does not need to be
> re-downloaded when hardware changed.
> Next big release probably will be December or January next year with
> tagged memory and minions.
> Why not now?
> Best regards,
> Wei
>> On 28/07/2016 14:26, Michael Clark wrote:
>> Hi Wei,
>> Yes this is quite neat.
>> I should try to pull your work and try it out.
>> Does this mean we can persist the first stage and cold boot without downloading the bitstream when the device is power cycled? I tried this but my skills are not there at this level. I read something about the frequency of the Flash/EEPROM needing to be at a particular setting for it to load the bust ram from Flash/EEPROM.
>> I would like to try the lowrisc-chip when you have another release...
>> Thanks,
>> Michael 
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On 21/07/2016, at 3:02 AM, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The memory mapped SPI is great news! Thanks Wei!
>>> ron
>>> On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 7:58 AM Jonathan Neuschäfer <j.neuschaefer at gmx.net>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 11:27:11AM +0100, Wei Song wrote:
>>>>> Hello Jonathan,
>>>>> Thanks for the explanation. It seems pretty clear why a memory mapped
>>>>> flash is needed now.
>>>>> The good news is, I just find out that modern SPI Flash chips do support
>>>>> an XIP (execution in place) mode which is dedicated for this purpose and
>>>>> the Xilinx Quad SPI IP already support the XIP mode.
>>>> Good
>>>>> So I think I can add support to this memory mapped flash to lowRISC
>>>>> early next month, hopefully you still get time to try?
>>>> Yes. The GSoC coding period ends mid-August, and I'll probably keep
>>>> working on RISC-V/coreboot after the GSoC.
>>>> Jonathan

More information about the lowrisc-dev mailing list