Tools and Software

Discover tools and software to help you with your FPGA design.

Browse through the development tools available for building software and creating FPGA designs for Intel® SoC FPGAs.

Design Tools & Software

Virtual Platform

Intel Simics

Intel provides embedded software developers access to virtual platforms. These platforms support Intel’s SoC FPGA portfolio, including the 3rd Generation 14 nm Intel® Stratix® 10 SoC and 10 nm Intel® Agilex™ FPGA both with a 64 bit quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor.

What Is a Virtual Platform?

The SoC FPGA virtual platforms include an instruction set simulator CPU model plus peripheral device models, delivered as a standalone binary executable. Download, install, and run the executable with a prebuilt Linux image on a host PC. Also use any GDB-compatible debug environment, including Arm Development Studio Intel® SoC FPGA Edition toolkit for comprehensive debugging of Bare Metal, Linux, and other OS applications.

When Do I Use a Virtual Platform?

Software developers can use the Intel® Stratix® 10 SoC and Intel® Agilex™ FPGA virtual platforms to start embedded software development and debug for the integrated quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor subsystem well before first silicon availability. Additionally, SoC FPGA virtual platforms simplify embedded software development and reduce the need for expensive hardware by enabling large development teams to perform application development and software regression testing in a virtual environment modeling an Intel® SoC FPGA.

Additional Resources

Open Source and Linux for SoC FPGAs

Intel Enables Linux on SoC FPGAs and the Nios® II Processor

Intel contributes to the Linux community by supporting our SoC FPGA and Nios® II processor customers via the community portal We ensure the availability of Linux kernels, U-boot, and the meta-Intel layers for Angstrom and the Yocto Project for the Intel® SoC FPGAs. Intel contributes to the open-source community to enable the Linux kernel to run on its SoC FPGA and Nios® II processor architectures. Contributions include improvements to the general kernel as well as new SoC FPGA and Nios® II processor-specific functions, such as the FPGA manager framework. By nature, these improvements benefit everyone in the Linux community.

Learn more about the Nios® II processor ›

Industry-Leading Linux Support

Intel keeps up with the Linux community by upgrading to the latest stable kernel on Additionally, Intel supports a modern release strategy by updating public git trees every two weeks on


Intel's approach to Linux for SoC FPGAs and the Nios® II processor is centered on upstreaming fixes and improvements of the SoC FPGA and Nios® II processor code primarily to and Consequently, Intel assembled a Linux team with upstreaming as a key strategy.


In addition to providing the latest stable kernel for the SoC FPGA architecture, Intel also supports U-Boot, LTS kernel with and without PREEMPT_RT, and a meta-Intel layer. You can obtain the code via the public code repositories on, which is a “one-stop-shop” for Linux developers working on Intel® SoC FPGAs. code repositories include:

  • Latest stable kernel
  • LTS kernel
  • U-Boot now mainlined
  • Yocto Project distribution

Intel® SoC FPGAs Linux Ongoing Innovation

Intel contributes to the Linux kernel, Specifically, Intel innovates by augmenting the Linux kernel with new features, such as an FPGA manager framework for programming and reconfiguring the FPGA. Furthermore, Intel is enhancing the kernel to better handle memory map reconfiguration via dynamic device trees.


Our ecosystem partners and the Intel® SoC FPGA user community provide a range of options to meet your SoC FPGA development needs.

Documentation and Support