MIPS Malta

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Malta with 20Kc core card

The MIPS Malta is an ATX form factor evaluation board made by MIPS Technologies. It supports a large variety of processor options; common processor types are 4Kc, 4KEc, 5Kc or a 24Kc core.


The Malta board has an Intel 82371AB PIIX4 (aka Southbridge) which provides the following:

  • 2 PCI IDE controllers. One controller is dedicated to the CompactFLASH socket.
  • USB 1.1 Host Bridge
  • Two i8259 IAC controllers
  • One i8254 timer
  • One MC146818 style RTC and CMOS controller

On the PIIX4 PCI bus there are the following devices:


On the Malta and topologically very close to the CPU there is the CBUS. CBUS is a simple bus. Among other things on the CBUS there is a 16550 UART. This arrangement allows RS-232 output even before other hardware has been configured. This UART has been added for debug purposes only. As such it's normally used and accessible only through a header. Nevertheless Linux supports this UART making it accessible as /dev/ttyS2.

Core cards

Malta board may be equipped with various "core cards". A core card includes a CPU, a system controller (aka Northbridge) and SDRAM module.

CoreCard CORID CPUs Controller
QED5261 0 QED RM5261 GT64120
CoreLV 1 MIPS32 4K, MIPS64 5K GT64120
CoreBonito64 2 QED RM5261, RM7061A Bonito64
Core20K 3 MIPS64 20Kc, MIPS64 25Kf Bonito64
CoreFPGA 4 MIPS32 4K, MIPS64 5K GT64120
CoreMSC 5 . .
CoreEMUL 6 . .
CoreFPGA2 7 . MIPS SOC-it 101
CoreFPGAR2 8 . GT64120
CoreFPGA3 9 . MIPS SOC-it 101


Malta uses YAMON for its firmware. YAMON determines various Core card models and their endianness automatically. The YAMON image contains Big and Little endian parts and "magic" code to determine the current endian.

There is RedBoot port to Malta too.

Linux support

The MIPS Malta board is fully supported by mainline Linux kernels.


Malta board is the most popular platform for MIPS full-system emulation.

GXemul supports MIPS Malta CoreLV (CoreID=1) well enough to run unmodified Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernels (except PCI and LAN stuff).

QEMU also support MIPS Malta architecture.

External links