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Modules features ultrahigh-performance DSP

Posted: 11 Apr 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PMC-VSX modules  Virtex-5 FPGA 

PMC-VSX modules

The folks at Acromag have rolled the new PMC-VSX modules that feature a DSP-optimised Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA that's reconfigurable for high-performance I/O processing and user-developed algorithmic computation.

High performance solution
For fast data transfer in and out of the FPGA, the PMC-VSX provides large banks of DDR2 DRAM and dual-port SRAM for high-speed DMA transfer to the PCI bus. A high-throughput PCI-X interface ensures plenty of bandwidth to rapidly move data. An assortment of plug-in I/O extension modules offers great flexibility to interface various analogue and digital I/O signal types.

By streamlining the design and limiting the features to core functions needed for fast and easy implementation, Acromag's PMC-VSX puts ultrahigh performance FPGA-controlled computing within reach for many DSP and co-processor applications. Boards start at Rs.2.72 lakh ($6,750), with extended temperature (-40°C to 85°C) and conduction-cooled models available.

The PMC base card provides 64 LVDS I/O channels accessible via P4 rear connectors. Inserting optional front-connecting AXM I/O extension modules augments I/O processing capabilities with an efficient interface for 16bit 105MHz A/D conversion , CMOS digital I/O, RS-485 differential signals, or extra LVDS I/O lines. Typical uses include video, imaging, radar/sonar, electronic warfare, signal intelligence and communication processing.

Application programs are downloaded directly into the FPGA or to flash memory from the PCI bus. Acromag's Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop custom programs, load VHDL into the FPGA and to establish DMA transfers between the FPGA and the CPU. The kit includes a compiled FPGA file and example VHDL code provided as selectable blocks with examples for the local bus interface, read/writes and change-of-state interrupts to the PCI bus. A JTAG interface allows users to perform on-board VHDL simulation. Further analysis is supported with a ChipScope Pro interface.

Powered by Virtex-5
Powerful and versatile, this PMC module employs Xilinx's VSX95T Virtex-5 FPGA with 95,000 logic cells and 640 dedicated 18 x 25 DSP48E slices. The DSP48E slice simplifies implementation of high-performance filters and complex math functions. These performance-tuned DSP engines perform up to 352 GMACs at 550MHz for execution of the most compute-intensive algorithms.

Acromag supports the Virtex-5 FPGA with plenty of memory and a high-speed interface for efficient data handling. Two banks of 32Mbit x 16bit DDR2 SDRAM are ready to receive data from the I/O ports for FPGA processing. Processed data moves to two banks of 256Kbit x 32bit dual-ported SRAM for high-speed DMA transfer to the PCI bus. A high-bandwidth PCI-X interface delivers rapid data throughput. The PCI-X interface supports 100MHz and 66MHz PCI bus modes.

For easy integration of the boards with embedded Windows applications, Acromag developed a DLL driver software package for compatibility with Microsoft Visual C++, and Visual Basic. Sample files with "C" source demonstration programs provide easy-to-use tools to test operation of the module.

For connectivity with real time application programs, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, QNX, and other operating systems. The libraries provide generic routines (source code included) to handle reads, writes, interrupts, and other functions. Demonstration programs enable the developer to quickly exercise the I/O modules before attaching the routines to the application program. This diagnostic tool can save hours of troubleshooting and debugging. Free Linux example programs are also available.

- Clive Maxfield
Programmable Logic DesignLine





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