Although ARM continues to compete with traditional chip manufacturers such as Intel and AMD in the personal computing market, it is not a perfect architecture and does have some shortcomings. Although this is an important step towards software and hardware freedom, it is not completely free because it requires a license to build. However, there is a completely open source and free architecture called RISC-V. Its design and philosophy allow anyone to build and experiment with it. Realize the construction of RISC-V processor in VHDL like this.
Because the processor is built in VHDL (a language that allows integrated circuit design and simulation), the processor code can be downloaded and then programmed into almost any FPGA. The processor itself is called NEORV32, which is designed as a system-on-chip with GPIO function, and of course there is a complete RISC-V processor implementation. The creator of the project, [Stephan], Was also struggling when learning RISC-V for the first time, so he went to great lengths to ensure that this project has complete documentation, is easy to set up, and can be used out of the box.
Of course, since it is completely open source and does not require a troublesome license agreement like the ARM platform, it can be easily modified or enhanced in any way that may be required.All code and documentation can be found in the project GitHub pageThis is the real benefit of fully open source hardware (or software), and we can all support it, even though the current options for RISC-V personal computers are still limited.
How does this compare to VexRISC or PicoSOC? We don’t know yet, but we are always happy to make a choice.