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SoC Porting Guide

This page describes how to add support for a new SoC in Zephyr, be it in the upstream Zephyr project or locally in your own repository.

SoC Definitions

It is expected that you are familiar with the board concept in Zephyr. A high level overview of the hardware support hierarchy and terms used in the Zephyr documentation can be seen in Hardware support hierarchy.

For SoC porting, the most important terms are:

  • SoC: the exact system on a chip the board’s CPU is part of.

  • SoC series: a group of tightly related SoCs.

  • SoC family: a wider group of SoCs with similar characteristics.

  • CPU Cluster: a cluster of one or more CPU cores.

  • CPU core: a particular CPU instance of a given architecture.

  • Architecture: an instruction set architecture.


See Architecture Porting Guide.

Create your SoC directory

Each SoC must have a unique name. Use the official name given by the SoC vendor and check that it’s not already in use. In some cases someone else may have contributed a SoC with identical name. If the SoC name is already in use, then you should probably improve the existing SoC instead of creating a new one. The script list_hardware can be used to retrieve a list of all SoCs known in Zephyr, for example ./scripts/ --soc-root=. --socs from the Zephyr base directory for a list of names that are already in use.

Start by creating the directory zephyr/soc/<VENDOR>/soc1, where <VENDOR> is your vendor subdirectory.


A <VENDOR> subdirectory is mandatory if contributing your SoC to Zephyr, but if your SoC is placed in a local repo, then any folder structure under <your-repo>/soc is permitted. The <VENDOR> subdirectory must match a vendor defined in the list in dts/bindings/vendor-prefixes.txt. If the SoC vendor does not have a prefix in that list, then one must be created.


The SoC directory name does not need to match the name of the SoC. Multiple SoCs can even be defined in one directory. In Zephyr, SoCs are often organized in sub-folders in a common SoC Family or SoC Series tree.

Your SoC directory should look like this:

├── soc.yml
├── soc.h
├── CMakeLists.txt
├── Kconfig
├── Kconfig.soc
└── Kconfig.defconfig

Replace <soc-name> with your SoC’s name.

The mandatory files are:

  1. soc.yml: a YAML file describing the high-level meta data of the SoC such as: - SoC name: the name of the SoC - CPU clusters: CPU clusters if the SoC contains one or more clusters - SoC series: the SoC series to which the SoC belong - SoC family: the SoC family to which the series belong

  2. soc.h: a header file which can be used to describe or provide configuration macros for the SoC. The soc.h will often be included in drivers, sub-systems, boards, and other source code found in Zephyr.

  3. Kconfig.soc: the base SoC configuration which defines a Kconfig SoC symbol in the form of config SOC_<soc-name> and provides the SoC name to the Kconfig SOC setting. If the soc.yml describes a SoC family and series, then those must also be defined in this file. Kconfig settings outside of the SoC tree must not be selected. To select general Zephyr Kconfig settings the Kconfig file must be used.

  4. CMakeLists.txt: CMake file loaded by the Zephyr build system. This CMake file can define additional include paths and/or source files to be used when a build targets the SoC. Also the base line linker script to use must be defined.

The optional files are:

  • Kconfig, Kconfig.defconfig software configuration in Configuration System (Kconfig) format. These select the architecture and peripherals available.

Write your SoC YAML

The SoC YAML file describes the SoC family, SoC series, and SoC at a high level.

Detailed configurations, such as hardware description and configuration are done in devicetree and Kconfig.

The skeleton of a simple SoC YAML file containing just one SoC is:

- name: <soc1>

It is possible to have multiple SoC located in the SoC folder. For example if they belong to a common family or series it is recommended to locate such SoC in a common tree. Multiple SoCs and SoC series in a common folder can be described in the soc.yml file as:

  name: <family-name>
    - name: <series-1-name>
        - name: <soc1>
            - name: <coreA>
            - name: <coreB>
        - name: <soc2>
    - name: <series-2-name>

Write your SoC devicetree

SoC devicetree include files are located in the <zephyr-repo>/dts folder under a corresponding <ARCH>/<VENDOR>.

The SoC dts/<ARCH>/<VENDOR>/<soc>.dtsi describes your SoC hardware in the Devicetree Source (DTS) format and must be included by any boards which use the SoC.

If a highlevel <arch>.dtsi file exists, then a good starting point is to include this file in your <soc>.dtsi.

In general, <soc>.dtsi should look like this:

#include <arch>/<arch>.dtsi

/ {
        chosen {
                /* common chosen settings for your SoC */

        cpus {
                #address-cells = <m>;
                #size-cells = <n>;

                cpu@0 {
                device_type = "cpu";
                compatible = "<compatibles>";
                /* ... your CPU definitions ... */

        soc {
                /* Your SoC definitions and peripherals */
                /* such as ram, clock, buses, peripherals. */


It is possible to structure multiple <VENDOR>/<soc>.dtsi files in sub-directories for a cleaner file system structure. For example organized pre SoC series, like this: <VENDOR>/<SERIES>/<soc>.dtsi.

Multiple CPU clusters

Devicetree reflects the hardware. The memory space and peripherals available to one CPU cluster can be very different from another CPU cluster, therefore each CPU cluster will often have its own .dtsi file.

CPU cluster .dtsi files should follow the naming scheme <soc>_<cluster>.dtsi. A <soc>_<cluster>.dtsi file will look similar to a SoC .dtsi without CPU clusters.

Write Kconfig files

Zephyr uses the Kconfig language to configure software features. Your SoC needs to provide some Kconfig settings before you can compile a Zephyr application for it.

Setting Kconfig configuration values is documented in detail in Setting Kconfig configuration values.

There is one mandatory Kconfig file in the SoC directory, and two optional files for a SoC:

soc/<vendor>/<your soc>
├── Kconfig.soc
├── Kconfig
└── Kconfig.defconfig

A shared Kconfig file which can be sourced both in Zephyr Kconfig and sysbuild Kconfig trees.

This file selects the SoC family and series in the Kconfig tree and potential other SoC related Kconfig settings. In some cases a SOC_PART_NUMBER. This file must not select anything outside the re-usable Kconfig SoC tree.

A Kconfig.soc may look like this:

config SOC_<series name>

config SOC_<SOC_NAME>
        select SOC_SERIES_<series name>

config SOC
        default "SoC name" if SOC_<SOC_NAME>

Notice that SOC_NAME is a pure upper case version of the SoC name.

The Kconfig SOC setting is globally defined as a string and therefore the Kconfig.soc file shall only define the default string value and not the type. Notice that the string value must match the SoC name used in the soc.yml file.


Included by soc/Kconfig.

This file can add Kconfig settings which are specific to the current SoC.

The Kconfig will often indicate given hardware support using a setting of the form HAS_<support>.

config SOC_<SOC_NAME>
        select ARM
        select CPU_HAS_FPU

If the setting name is identical to an existing Kconfig setting in Zephyr and only modifies the default value of said setting, then Kconfig.defconfig should be used instead.


SoC specific default values for Kconfig options.

Not all SoCs have a Kconfig.defconfig file.

The entire file should be inside a pair of if SOC_<SOC_NAME> / endif or if SOC_SERIES_<SERIES_NAME> / endif, like this:


config NUM_IRQS
        default 32

endif # SOC_<SOC_NAME>

Multiple CPU clusters

CPU clusters must provide additional Kconfig settings in the Kconfig.soc file. This will usually be in the form of SOC_<SOC_NAME>_<CLUSTER> so for a given soc1 with two clusters clusterA and clusterB, then this will look like:

SoC’s When a SoC defines CPU cluster

        select SOC_SOC1

        select SOC_SOC1