We reported earlier about Xilinx offering free-to-use ARM Cortex M1 and M3 cores. [Adam Taylor] posted his experiences getting things working and there’s also a video done by [Geek Til It Hertz] based on the material that you can see in the second video, below.
The post covers using the Arty A35T or Arty S50 FPGA boards (based on Artix FPGAs) and the Xilinx Vivado software. Although Vivado will allow you to do conventional FPGA development, it also can work to compose function blocks to produce CPUs and that’s really what’s going on here.
The final design has an M3 processor, an AXI bus, a UART, some GPIO, a debugger, and some RAM. You manipulate those pieces using a schematic-like diagram. In the end, you can connect to the device using a serial port on your PC and a terminal program.
You still need to do software development for your new CPU and [Adam’s] promised that’s part two of his post that he will release shortly. However, that’s usually the part people don’t have as much trouble with. In addition, you might have your own favorite ARM development tools you want to use anyway.