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I Can Monitor and Analyze eSPI Traffic from an Actual Device– Can I also Simulate a Master Device for a Prototype System?
Rena Ayeras

With the flexibility of the Promira Serial Platform and available software applications, you can simulate an eSPI master device when needed.

Image by Riki32 from Pixabay
Question from the Customer:

I started using the Promira Serial Platform with the eSPI Analysis Application. My job includes prototyping, proof-of-concept designs. In addition to monitoring, analyzing, and troubleshooting I2C and SPI devices, can I use this tool as an eSPI master?

Response from Technical Support:

Thanks for your question! With the eSPI Analysis Application, the Promira platform can monitor eSPI traffic with great detail. Without the hardware of a master/slave engine, the Promira platform is not capable of emulating an eSPI Master. However, with a second Promira platform device, you can simulate an eSPI master device. We will go over the capabilities of monitoring eSPI data, then provide information about simulating an eSPI master with two Promira platforms.

Monitoring eSPI Data

The eSPI Analysis Application is the first eSPI monitor in the industry. With this application, you can monitor eSPI communication between multiple eSPI devices:

  • Monitors communication between a master and slaves on data lines.
  • Supports single, dual and quad I/O devices.
  • Supports clock speeds up to 66MHz.
  • Monitors up to 5 channels: peripheral, virtual wire, OOB, Flash, Independent
  • Monitora up to 2 slave select lines.
  • Monitors 2 alert lines.
  • Monitor 2 reset lines.
  • Match triggers, hardware filters and statistics

Add a second Promira with the appropriate SPI license, and you can simulate an eSPI master device.

Simulating an eSPI Master Device

The eSPI bus generally works at bit rates of 20, 25, 33, 50 and 66 MHz, in single, dual, quad IO modes. To support this range of speeds and modes, we recommend using  the SPI Active - Level 3 Application for the second Promira platform. SPI Active Level 3 supports high-speed operations, up to 80MHz. Please note, to install SPI Active - Level 3, Active Level 1 and level 2 must first be installed. For more information, take a look at a summary of all the applications that apply to the Promira Serial Platform.

Overview of the Physical Setup and the Software Applications

Here is an overview of the eSPI simulation:

  • Two Promira platforms are connected with a 34-34 cable and are controlled by one computer.
  • One Promira platform is set up with SPI Active Level 1-3 applications and Promira API I2C/API; this tool sends eSPI data.
  • The other Promira platform is set up with the Promira eSPI Analysis Application; this tool, along with Data Center Software, monitor the eSPI bus.
  • After configuring the setup, you can start transferring eSPI data and monitor the bus activity with the Data Center Software interface as shown below:

For the complete set of instructions, please refer to Monitoring eSPI Messages Using Promira Platform and Data Center.

Functions and Limitations of eSPI Master Simulation

eSPI simulation can be very effective for many setups. However, this is not a full-fledged, eSPI master hardware engine. Here are limitations you should be aware of:

  • Simulating eSPI mastering is only supported when using a second Promira platform with the appropriate SPI Active Level applications.
  • The software driven simulation of eSPI cycles cannot respond to slave devices in real time.
  • The eSPI software examples that we provide are only available in the software language Python:

    • espi_generator simulates eSPI transactions: eSPI traffic.
    • espi_simulator provides basic eSPI functions, including sending resets, alerts and get status, configuring the I/O mode for single, mode, or quad, deliver messages to slave devices, and more

We hope this answers your question. Additional resources that you may find helpful include the following:

If you want more information, feel free to contact us with your questions, or request a demo that applies to your application.