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Xilinx Vivado block designs for FPGA RISC-V SoC running Debian Linux distro.

This repository contains FPGA prototype of fully functional RISC-V Linux server with networking, online Linux package repository and daily package updates. It includes scripts and sources to generate RISC-V SoC HDL, Xilinx Vivado project, FPGA bitstream, and bootable SD card. The SD card contains RISC-V Open Source Supervisor Binary Interface (OpenSBI), U-Boot, Linux kernel and Debian root FS. Linux package repositories and regular updates are provided by Debian. Over 90% of packages of the whole Debian collection are available for download.

Also can be used to run bare-metal or RTOS software.

The project is used as a reference design to validate RISC-V support in Eclipse TCF.

Latest Xilinx tools (Ver. 2020.1+) support debugging of RISC-V software over JTAG.



Xilinx VC707 or Xilinx KC705 or Digilent Genesys 2 or Digilent Nexys Video or Digilent Nexys A7 100T board.

VC707 allows to prototype more powerful system: up to 8 64-bit RISC-V cores, up to 100MHz clock speed, 1GB RAM.

KC705 and Genesys 2 are as fast as VC707, but have slightly smaller FPGA - up to 4 cores.

Nexys Video is several times less expensive, academic discount is avaialble. It supports up to 2 cores, up to 50MHz clock speed.

Nexys A7 100T is least expensive supported board. It has small FPGA and only 128MB RAM, barely enough to run Linux on a single core RISC-V at 50MHz.


Ubuntu 20 LTS machine with min 32GB RAM is recommended. sudo access required.


Vitis 2021.1 or Vitis 2020.2 or Vitis 2020.1. Vitis installation includes Vivado Design Suite – there is no need to install Vivado separately.

Nexys Video and Nexys A7 100T are supported by free version of Vivado. KC705, VC707 and Genesys 2 require Vivado license.

If using a Digilent board, install Vivado Board Files for Digilent FPGA Boards. Note: installation instructions tell to "navigate to its '/data/boards/board_files' directory". The directory does not exist in the latest Vivado, you have to create it first.


Checkout the repository, install required packages and update submodules

sudo apt install git make
git clone
cd vivado-risc-v
make apt-install
make update-submodules

Build FPGA bitstream

source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2021.1/
make CONFIG=rocket64b2 BOARD=nexys-video bitstream

For KC705, use BOARD=kc705

For VC707, use BOARD=vc707

For Genesys 2 use BOARD=genesys2

For Nexys A7 100T use BOARD=nexys-a7-100t

Available CONFIG values:

  • 64-bit big RISC-V cores, Linux capable:
    • rocket64b1 - 1 core
    • rocket64b2 - 2 cores
    • rocket64b2l2 - 2 cores with 512KB level 2 cache
    • rocket64b2gem - 2 cores with 512KB level 2 cache and Gemmini accelerator
    • rocket64b4l2w - 4 cores with 512KB level 2 cache and wide 256-bit memory bus
    • rocket64b4 - 4 cores
    • rocket64b8 - 8 cores
    • rocket64x1 - 2-wide superscalar Medium BOOM, 1 core
    • rocket64y1 - 3-wide superscalar Large BOOM, 1 core
    • rocket64z1 - 4-wide superscalar Mega BOOM, 1 core, added for completeness - too big for supported boards
  • 32-bit small RISC-V cores, Linux not supported:
    • rocket32s1 - 1 core
    • rocket32s2 - 2 cores
    • rocket32s4 - 4 cores
    • rocket32s8 - 8 cores
    • rocket32s16 - 16 cores

Prepare the SD card

Use USB SD card reader to connect SD card to the workstation, and run:


The script looks for USB memory device and asks confirmation before using it. Make sure to confirm right SD card device - all old data will be erased.

Program the FPGA flash memory

  • Open Vivado
source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2021.1/
make CONFIG=rocket64b2 BOARD=nexys-video bitstream vivado-gui
  • Open the hardware manager and open the target board
  • Select Tools - Add Configuration Memory Device
  • Select the following device:
    • Nexys A7 100T: Spansion s25fl128sxxxxxx0
    • Nexys Video: Spansion s25fl256sxxxxxx0
    • Genesys 2: Spansion s25fl256sxxxxxx0
    • KC705: Micron 28f00ap30t
    • VC707: Micron mt28gu01gaax1e
  • Add configuration file:
    • Nexys A7 100T: workspace/rocket64b1/nexys-a7-100t-riscv.mcs
    • Nexys Video: workspace/rocket64b2/nexys-video-riscv.mcs
    • Genesys 2: workspace/rocket64b2/genesys2-riscv.mcs
    • KC705: workspace/rocket64b2/kc705-riscv.mcs
    • VC707: workspace/rocket64b2/vc707-riscv.mcs
  • Press Ok. Flashing will take a couple of minutes.
  • Right click on the FPGA device - Boot from Configuration Memory Device (or press the program button on the board)

See the board and Vivado docs for more details.

Linux login

Host name: debian

User login and password: debian debian

Root login and password: root root

You can login over UART console:

sudo miniterm /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

or, after Linux boot, over SSH:

ssh [email protected]

Modding the design: adding a peripheral device

Use Vivado Block Design to add an IP

Open Vivado:

source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2021.1/
make CONFIG=rocket64b2 BOARD=nexys-video vivado-gui

The IO block in the design is the best place to add device controllers, like GPIO. See AXI Uartlite as an example, connect your IP to AXI interconnect and interrupts. Validate and synthesize the design, but don't build bitstream yet - device tree and RISC-V HDL need to be updated first.

Close Vivado.

Check the device driver is enabled in patches/linux.config

For example, for Xilinx GPIO, the config should contain line:


If necessary, change config, then rebuild Linux kernel and bootloader:

make linux bootloader
./mk-sd-image -r debian-riscv64-boot

Copy debian-riscv64-boot/extlinux directory to the SD card.

Note: don't change files in the project submodules: linux-stable, u-boot, opensbi or rocket-chip. Such changes are lost when the project is rebuilt.

For details on Xilinx drivers, see Linux Drivers.

Edit bootrom/bootrom.dts

Add device description in the "soc {...}" section. For example, GPIO description can look like this:

        gpio: [email protected] {
            #gpio-cells = <2>;
            compatible = "xlnx,xps-gpio-1.00.a";
            gpio-controller ;
            interrupt-parent = <&L2>;
            interrupts = <4>;
            reg = < 0x60030000 0x10000 >;
            xlnx,all-inputs = <0x0>;
            xlnx,dout-default = <0x0>;
            xlnx,gpio-width = <0x8>;
            xlnx,interrupt-present = <0x1>;
            xlnx,is-dual = <0>;
            xlnx,tri-default = <0xffffffff>;

Make sure the description matches your design. In particular, check addresses and interrupt numbers.

Rebuild FPGA bitstream

make CONFIG=rocket64b2 BOARD=nexys-video bitstream

Program the FPGA or the board flash memory.

Prebuilt images

Prebuilt FPGA bitstream and SD card image are available in the releases area.


Rocket Chip is used as RISC-V implementation: UC Berkeley Architecture Research - Rocket Chip Generator. Rocket Chip is configured to include virtual memory, instruction and data caches, coherent interconnect, floating point, and all the relevant infrastructure. See rocket.scala for Rocket Chip configuration classes.

RISC-V SoC in this repo contains bootrom, which differ from original Rocket Chip bootrom. The modified bootrom contains SD card boot loader and extended device tree.

RISC-V SoC in this repo contains DDR, UART, SD and Ethernet controllers. DDR is provided by Vivado. UART, SD and Ethernet are open source Verilog.

SD controller implements SD HS (High Speed) specs, 25MB/s read/write speed.

Ethernet controller is based on Verilog Ethernet Components project, which is a collection of Ethernet-related components for gigabit, 10G, and 25G packet processing.

Linux kernel and U-Boot use device tree, which is stored in RISC-V bootrom in FPGA. So, same SD card should boot OK on any board or RISC-V configuration.

Nexys Video and Nexys A7 boards can be configured to load FPGA bitstream from SD card.

The device tree contains Ethernet MAC address, which is not unique. It might be necessary to rebuild bitstream with different MAC, see Makefile for details.

If not using provided SD card image: the bootrom loads and executes boot.elf file from SD card DOS partition. boot.elf is regular executable ELF, it can contain any software suitable for RISC-V RV64 M mode. In case of Linux boot, boot.elf contains OpenSBI and U-Boot.

The Makefile creates Vivado project directory, e.g. workspace/rocket64b2/vivado-nexys-video-riscv. You can open the project in Vivado GUI to see RISC-V SoC structure, make changes, add peripherals, rebuild the bitstream. The SoC occupies portion of FPGA, leaving plenty of space for experiments and developing additional hardware.

RISC-V SoC in this repo uses BSCAN block to support both RISC-V debugging and FPGA access over same JTAG cable.

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