RISC-V by VectorBlox
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Vectorblox ORCA

ORCA is an implementation of RISC-V. It is intended to target FPGAs and can be configured as either RV32I a RV32IM code.

ORCA can be used as a standalone processor, but was built to be a host to Vectorblox's Proprietary Matrix processor MXP.

It is possible to select between Wishbone, Avalon, and AXI for the data and instruction Memory Mapped interfaces Specification.

A QSYS component is provided for easy integration into the Altera toolchain.

Building Toolchain

The official RISC-V toolchain is under active development, and is subject to breaking changes from time to time. Because of that we have included a linked a specific version of the toolchain to this repository. If you use a different version of the toolchain, you may have mixed results. Follow the instructions provided in tools/riscv-toolchain to build the supported toolchain.

Sample Systems

We have provided a sample system targeting the DE2-115 found in the TPad or Veek development systems as an example design.

In addition to this example system we provide a system targeting a simulator such as modelsim. We use QSYS to help maintain theses systems.

We have also had success with building systems using the Libero toolchain from Microsemi and the IceCube2 toolchain from lattice, but have not provided example systems as of yet.

Configuring ORCA

Below is an overview of the various generics exposed from the top level to configure ORCA.


There are three generics (AVALON_ENABLE , WISHBONE_ENABLE , AXI_ENABLE ) of which only one must be set to one. An Assertion will be thrown if more than one is enabled. From the QSYS Configuration box, only Avalon or AXI can be selected.

REGISTER_SIZE (default = 32)

Reserved for future use, must be set to 32

RESET_VECTOR (default = 0x0000 0200)

Address that the first instruction to be executed at reset is located. The automated tests expect the default value.

MULTIPLY_ENABLE (default = 0)

Enable hardware multiplication

DIVIDE_ENABLE (default = 0 )

Enable hardware division (takes 32 cycles)

SHIFTER_MAX_CYCLES (default = 1)

How many cycles a shift operation can take. valid values are 1, 8 and 32. If MULTIPLY_ENABLE is set to 1. This configuration option is ignored, and the shifter uses the multiplier.

COUNTER_LENGTH (default = 0)

How many bits the mtime register contains. The standard RISC-V dictates 64 bits, but ORCA allows 32 and 0 as valid values as well.


If this is set to 1, then logic is added to allow the processor to be interrupted by software interrupts.


Reserved for when a branch predictor is implemented

PIPELINE STAGES ( default = 5)

Legal values are 4 and 5. If set to 4, the registers on the output side of the register file are eliminated.

LVE_ENABLE (default = 0)

Enable Lightweight Vector Extensions (not publicly available)

SCRATCHPAD_SIZE (default = 1024)

If LVE_ENABLE == 1, how large should the scratchpad be in Bytes, otherwise ignored.


Enable interrupts from the outside world to interrupt the processor. Depends on ENABLE_EXCEPTIONS ==1

NUM_EXT_INTERRUPTS (default = 1)

If ENABLE_EXT_INTERRUPTS = 1 select how many interrupts to support.


We found that the Platform Level Interrupt controller (PLIC) that was described in the Privileged Specification V1.9 was to complex for our needs, so ORCA has a non-standard but very simple interrupt controller.

We define 2 more 32 bit CSRs, MEIPEND and MEIMASK. Because these registers are a maximum of 32bits wide, ORCA only supports 32 interrupts natively.MEIMASK is a mask for the external interrupts. If bit n of MEIMASK is set, then that the nth interrupt is enabled. MEIPEND is connected to the external interrupt lines, and a such is read-only.

CSR Name CSR Number Access

The Processor is interrupted by an external interrupt on line n if and only if the MIE bit of the MSTATUS CSR is 1 and bit n of the MEIMASK CSR is set to 1.