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+++ Zet processor System on Chip +++
This package contains all source code, test benches, bitfiles, ROMs and
scripts used in Zet processor x86 SoC. As of version 1.3.0, Zet runs on
3 different FPGA boards: Terasic Altera DE0, DE1, DE2 and DE2-115.
You can find all information in the website of the project:
++ Explanation of directories
boards/ - Different boards supported (implementation dependent files)
cores/ - Cores library in Verilog source code
cores/zet/ - Zet processor Verilog source code
src/ - Software directory, with BIOS and tools
To build the system, you can use Microsoft Windows or Linux.
1) Build the BIOS
To build the BIOS you will need the OpenWatcom compiler. This has been
tested with the latest version at this moment, 1.9. Get it for free at When you have it installed, you will need
to add the binaries to the PATH environment variable and set up the
WATCOM variable pointing to the installation directory of the compiler.
Once installed, open a command prompt and go to src/bios folder.
In Windows: type "build"
In Linux: type "wmake"
When the BIOS has been built, you will have the boot ROM part copied to
cores/flash/ and the bios.rom file in the src/bios directory with both
the VGA BIOS and the normal BIOS.
2) Flash the BIOS into the board ROM
Microsoft Windows:
To flash the board, you will need the Control panel application
installed in Microsoft Windows (comes with the board CD-ROM). Open the
file src/bios/bios.rom in the board Control Panel and with the board
plugged into the USB port, Erase the flash and program it sequentially
starting from offset 0.
In Linux:
You will need Quartus II installed. Run the script:
$NIOS2EDS/ boards/altera-de*/bin/
where NIOS2EDS points to the NIOS II Embedded Development System
directory included with the Quartus II installation.
3) Build the bitfiles
To create the bitfiles, you will need the Quartus II software. The
latest version tested is 10.0 SP1. You can get it for free at Web Edition will be enough. To build the system,
open the file boards/altera*/syn/kotku.qpf (depending on the board)
in Quartus II and go to "Processing" menu > "Start compilation". The
compilation of the system should start. After a while, it should end
with 0 errors and 0 warnings.
The result will be two files in the boards/altera*/syn/ directory, named
kotku.sof and kotku.pof. The first is the volatile version of the system
and the second is the permanent one.
4) Flash the bitfiles
To flash the bitfiles, open the Quartus II programmer by opening
Quartus II and click in "Tools" > "Programmer". Then select the "active
serial" operation and add the kotku.pof file. With the board plugged,
switch the RUN/PROG switch on the board to PROG position. Then click on
In this moment, the board should boot by itself. Just power it by
switching it to RUN mode. You will need an SD card containing a FAT16
file system with MS-DOS or FreeDOS in order to use the system.
You can choose to simulate only the processor or the full system. For
Zet processor development it is much faster and easier to simulate only
the processor. To do the simulations, you will need Modelsim simulator.
You can get it for free from website.
Zet processor simulation:
You will need GNU make and the bcc compiler in order to make the tests
that are in the cores/zet/tests folder. Type for example:
"make 01_mov.rtlrom" and the corresponding test will be built and copied
to the sim/ folder ready to be simulated.
Open Modelsim and go to directory "cd cores/zet/sim" then type "do",
the system will compile and start a 10us simulation. You will be able to
see all processor contents and signals.
Full system simulation:
It's a similar procedure, but the Altera DE1 board is being simulated.
Instead, change to "cd boards/altera-de1/sim" folder and then run
"do". You will need some contents in the simulated flash. To do that,
you can run the script present in that folder to transform the
compiled version of the BIOS to contents to the flash stub for simulation.
++ Credits
Most of the work is (C) Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010 Zeus Gomez Marmolejo.
All hardware and software source files are released under the GNU GPLv3
license. Read the LICENSE file included.
Special thanks to people that helped significantly to this project:
- Sebastien Bourdeauducq to his DRAM memory controller
- Donna Polehn for adding mouse and shadow BIOS support
- Yury Savchuk for improving the timer and improving the processor
- Charley Picker for SDRAM video support and Altera DE2 board port