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This repo experiment multiple things at once :

  • The BMB (Banana Memory Bus) which can cover both cached and cacheless SoC without compromises
  • A hardware description paradigm made of generators and depedancies which should be able to solve SoC toplevel hell
  • Linux and U-Boot on VexRiscv

A few kits are supported :

  • ulx3s (ECP5) , documented in bsp/radiona/ulx3s/smp/

  • Arty-A7 (Artix 7), documented in bsp/digilent/ArtyA7SmpLinux/

  • Efinix Xyloni xyloni_1

  • ...

Repository structure

- hardware
  - scala      : SpinalHDL hardware description
  - netlist    : Folder used by SpinalHDL to generate the netlist
  - synthesis  : Contains synthesis scripts for various boards
- bsp          : Contains multiple Board Support Package used to build the software
- software
  - standalone : Contains multiple demo software to run in the CPU
- ext
  - SpinalHDL  : Hardware description language compiler
  - VexRiscv   : CPU hardware description


On Ubuntu 14 :

# JAVA JDK >= 8
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:openjdk-r/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk -y
sudo update-alternatives --config java
sudo update-alternatives --config javac

# Install SBT -
echo "deb all main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sbt.list
echo "deb /" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sbt_old.list
curl -sL "" | sudo apt-key add
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sbt

# Verilator (for simulation only, v3.9+, in general apt-get will give you 3.8)
sudo apt-get install git make autoconf g++ flex bison -y  # First time prerequisites
git clone   # Only first time
unsetenv VERILATOR_ROOT  # For csh; ignore error if on bash
unset VERILATOR_ROOT  # For bash
cd verilator
git pull        # Make sure we're up-to-date
git checkout v4.040
autoconf        # Create ./configure script
make -j$(nproc)
sudo make install
echo "DONE"

# A fiew dependencies ?
sudo apt install pkg-config shtool libtool cpio bc unzip rsync mercurial
sudo apt install libusb-1.0-0-dev libyaml-dev

Jar package

To package the project into a dependence free jar :

sbt clean assembly

The produced jar will be in target/scala-2.11/SaxonSoc-assembly-1.0.0.jar

To run that jar :

java -cp target/scala-2.11/SaxonSoc-assembly-1.0.0.jar YOUR_SCALA_PACKAGE.YOUR_MAIN

BMB spec (WIP)


The needs I had :

  • A memory bus which could be used from for cacheless + low latency to cachefull SoC design without overhead
  • Interconnect/Adapters which fit well in FPGA (without asyncronus ram reads)

Why not adopting a existing memory bus :

  • AXI4 and Tilelink memory ordering has overhead for cacheless CPU designs
  • AXI4 do not fit cacheless design as the AW W channels split add overhead to the interconnect
  • TileLink isn't FPGA friendly, as its rely on tracking each transaction (unique source identifier)
  • Nor AXI4, Tilelink, Wishbone, Avalon provide the features required for state-less adapters
  • With the SaxonSoc out of order elaboration, there was a quite some room for experimentation and automation

Key features

Feature which target the interconnect and adapters :

  • Context signals which allow a master to retrieve information from the bus responses, and consequently allow state-less adapters
  • State-less adapters allow unlimited number of pending transactions and avoid the usage of RAM/FIFO in adapters
  • Address and write data are part of the same link, which allow to have low latency interconnect (in comparison to AXI)
  • Allow out of oder completion via the 'source' signals

Feature to make slave implementation easier :

  • Address alignment parameter (BYTE, WORD, POW2) to allow simple slave implementations
  • Length width parameter, which combined with the alignement parameter, allow a slave to not support bursts (the interconnect will add the required adapters)

Other features :

  • WriteOnly, readOnly support


BMB is composed of streams to carry transaction between a source and a sink. A stream is composed of :

Name Direction Description
valid Source => Sink transaction present on the interface
payload Source => Sink transaction content
ready Source <= Sink consume the transaction on the bus, don't care if there is no transaction

More details on

BMB is composed of two mandatory streams :

  • cmd : M->S, to carry requests, (read, write + data)
  • rsp : M<-S, to carry responses (read + data, write)

and three optional streams to handle memory coherency :

  • inv : M<-S, for the interconnect to ask a master to invalidate a portion of memory
  • ack : M->S, for the master to notify the interconnect that an invalidation is now effective
  • sync : M<-S, for the interconnect to notify a master which issued a write that the given write is now observable by all other masters

The cmd stream is consquantly composed of the following signals

Name Bitcount Description
valid 1 Stream valid
ready 1 Stream ready
source sourceWidth Transaction source ID, allow out of order completion between different sources, similar to AXI ID
opcode 1 0 => READ, 1 => WRITE
address addressWidth Address of the first byte of the transaction, stay the same during a burst
length lengthWidth Burst bytes count - 1
data dataWidth Data used for writes
mask dataWidth/8 Data mask used for writes
context contextWidth Can be used by a master/adapter to link some informations to a burst (returned on rsp transactions)

During a write burst the source, opcode, address, length and context signal should remain stable.

The rsp stream is :

Name Bitcount Description
valid 1 Stream valid
ready 1 Stream ready
source sourceWidth Identical to the corresponding cmd source
opcode 1 0 => SUCCESS, 1 => ERROR
data dataWidth Data used for reads
context contextWidth Identical to the corresponding cmd context

During a read burst the source and context signal should remain stable.

The inv stream is :

Name Bitcount Description
valid 1 Stream valid
ready 1 Stream ready
all 1 0 => all masters, 1 => all masters but the source one should be invalidated.
address addressWidth Address of the first byte to invalidate
length lengthWidth How many bytes should be invalidated - 1
source sourceWidth See the all signal

The ack stream has no payload attached :

Name Bitcount Description
valid 1 Stream valid
ready 1 Stream ready

The sync stream is :

Name Bitcount Description
valid 1 Stream valid
ready 1 Stream ready
source sourceWidth Identify which master should be notified