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XMOS Dev Kit Arrives and Contest Information

 DSC_1692Just received an XMOS XK-1 Development Kit in the mail as part of a Design Challenge hosted via Trossen Robotics.

XMOS has in interesting architecture, something new to explore. I am especially interested in the parallel processing features and how code is developed. Development tools are free so this might be a great part to hobby with.

From the XMOS site:
The XMOS architecture makes it practical to use software to perform many functions that traditionally have been implemented in hardware, for example interfaces and I/O controllers. Both input and output operations can be timed to a local clock or an externally provided clock. The architecture is both multi-threaded and event-driven. Threads can be used to define independent tasks; the event mechanism enables fast and controlled responses to a multitude of signals.

DSC_1695 The XMOS XK-1 Development Kit includes a small PCB with headers and a USB JTAG adaptor. JTAG usually means source level debugging. Something you don’t typically get in hobby systems like Arduino. I will lean more as I get into the development. I greatly prefer to use source level debugging so this should be refreshing.

The board and USB JTAG are shown to the right. JTAG on top.

Specs for this part are impressive.

  • 400 MIPS
    • About 16 MIPS for the Arduino
    • Roughly translated, the XMOS chip is about 25X faster
  • 8 threads per core
  • 64Kb RAM
  • 8Kb One time programmable boot code memory
    • Very shy on code memory
    • Apparently this ROM is transferred to RAM at boot up.
      • This means you can load RAM for code development via JTAG
      • RAM is typically faster then ROM. This is done to speed up execution
      • I guess you don’t need a lot of code to do hardware replacement tasks
  • 64 I/O pins
  • Support for DSP with 32×32 64bit MAC.
    • MAC = Multiply Accumulate
  • Free C development tools
    • Special support for Parallel execution and thread messaging.

More Soon
I have a few neat ideas for the challenge, now I just have to find the time to explore.

Posted in Contest, Development Tools, Discovering, Microcontroller, Parts, Projects, Review.

3 Responses

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  1. mrmeval says

    Design tools are missing from the page. Based on the online documents it looks like there might be a working version for Linux. I’d like to see open sourced tools for it but I’ll be happy if I can develop for it on Linux.

  2. Berni says

    Well actually its a bit different to the propeller.While the propeller has 8 CPUs that each have there own ram and a little shared ram. But with xmos there is only 1 CPU and 1 ram space.But it imitates a multitasking os on the hardware level, making for incredibly efficient multitasking. And they make 4 core versions of this mcu that dose a mind blowing 1600 MIPS. But it isent only the raw CPU power that make it amazing. The I/O ports are the real gem of this. You build your ports by making I/O blocks clock driven from any source up to 100Mhz This means you could have like 40 SPI ports if you needed them. (or I2C or I2S or USART or just about any port)

    I already worked with xmos chips as i got my XC-2 board a few weeks earlier as a part of this same design challange. (progress is shown in a blog at )

  3. Alan Parekh says

    Wow that is a powerful platform! It sounds similar to the Parallax Propeller or am I mistaken?