Bluespec Launches New MCUX RISC-V Processor That Enables Developers to Implement Custom Instructions and Add Accelerators

Small footprint, vendor independent MCUX processor is ideal for FPGAs and ASICs

Framingham, Mass. – June 27, 2023 – Bluespec Inc. today announced its new MCUX RISC-V processor that makes it easy for developers to implement custom instructions and add accelerators to FPGAs and ASICs. The MCUX is an extension of Bluespec’s MCU RISC-V processor family, which is targeted at ultra-low resource utilization on FPGAs. Bluespec’s MCUX processor builds on this legacy with more customization opportunities, in addition to supporting vendor choice since the MCUX is fully portable across all major FPGA architectures and ASIC technologies.

See for a new application note that walks through implementing and executing custom instructions on the MCUX. It shows the potential for impressive reductions in software execution cycle counts for a small amount of implementation effort.

“The small footprint of our MCUX RISC-V processor directly translates to cost savings for our customers. Developers can add advanced hardware extensions to accelerate specific workloads to run even more efficiently while keeping resources very low,” said Charlie Hauck, CEO at Bluespec. “Another major advantage of our MCUX processor is that there are no licensing restrictions so developers can work with any FPGA vendor.”

Bluespec’s MCUX embedded processor is designed for applications which require a small processor for configuration and control of custom modules, IO devices, sensors, actuators, and accelerators, as well as software programmable replacements for fixed-hardware finite state machines. This makes the MCUX ideally suited for machine vision, video decoding, audio decoding, and radar signaling applications, among many other use cases for the edge, industrial automation, defense, IoT, and beyond.

“Defense applications have extremely specific requirements, so customizability is a key consideration when we’re evaluating which processors we’ll use,” said Daniel Kunkel, Senior Principal Digital Electronics Engineer at Northrop Grumman. “We selected Bluespec’s MCUX thanks to the extensibility of RISC-V and the ability to add accelerated workloads.”

With the MCUX processor, developers have the flexibility to implement custom instructions tailored to application requirements to speed up critical and/or common operations, reduce memory access, and improve efficiency. The ability to add custom instructions is a key benefit of the open RISC-V standard and is a critical requirement to meet today’s complex computing standards.

“It’s clear that developers want more design flexibility and are eager to avoid vendor lock-in, which are two reasons why RISC-V has been so successful to-date,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International. “Bluespec’s new MCUX RISC-V processor is meeting this demand to give companies more freedom to innovate.”

Bluespec’s MCUX is able to operate at a high frequency, allowing for integration into designs without crossing clock domains. Designs that do not require a high frequency operation benefit from extra timing slack, without an impact on timing closure.

To help speed up development time, Bluespec performs implementation and optimization on its processors, as well as performing standard and proprietary verification. Providing professionally implemented, supported, and maintained solutions allows Bluespec’s customers to focus their time and resources on differentiation. In addition to the MCUX and MCU processor families, Bluespec offers the RV32IMAC BMR family designed for applications that run on bare-metal or real-time operating systems, the RV32IMAC SCL family for single-core Linux application requirements, and the RV32GC SCL which adds floating-point support to the single-core Linux family.

About Bluespec

Bluespec provides RISC-V tools and silicon IP that enable companies to exploit the freedom to innovate and cost reduction that RISC-V enables. We provide a complete RISC-V software development environment running on fast, hardware-accurate RISC-V cores in an FPGA-enabled cloud, and a turnkey hardware acceleration tool for developing innovative high-performance low-power RISC-V subsystems. For more information on Bluespec, Inc. visit

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Posted by on June 27, 2023
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