Board-level computer maker Innovative Integration (Simi Valley, Calif.) is rolling out some highly scalable cPCI-based (CompactPCI) single board computers (SBCs) with very high bandwidth specs.
In fact, these boards are fast enough to support high-end applications such as SDRs (software-defined radios), wireless IP (Internet Protocol) development and hardware testing, ultra-fast data acquisition, vector signal generation, signal identification, radar, and electronic warfare systems.
Dubbed Quixote DSP cards, these SBCs pack 600-MHz Texas Instruments TMS320C6416 DSP chips and up to 6-million gate Xilinx Virtex-II FPGAs. Interestingly enough, Innovative Integration's engineering datasheets indicate that the company will ship these boards with 720-MHz DSPs, or even 1-GHz DSPs, when they become available.
High-Res Data Conversion
The Quixote's also include dual 105-MHz sampling rate 14-bit A/D and 14-bit D/A channels. The analog front-ends use Analog Devices Inc.'s AD6645 A/D chips. The board's input stages confer 50-ohm input-Z SMB connector coaxial cable connections, and low-distortion amplifiers followed by passive anti-aliasing filters.
The two analog outputs use Analog Devices AD9764 DACs, followed by 5th-order smoothing interpolation filters, output buffer amps, and single-ended outputs that also feed 50-ohm loads.
Move To Performance
According to Innovative Integration, users of these boards can eschew multi-card systems and their inherent limitations. The company claims "amazing bandwidth and flexibility."
Those claims, in part, accrue to the use of 64-bit 66-MHz PCI interfaces, and PMC sites. These facilitate integration into PCI systems, as well as supporting the addition of off-the shelf and custom PMC mezzanine boards. Also, PCI-to-StarFabric bridges offer two 2.5-Gbits/s ports to the new PICMG 2.17 switched interconnect backplane.
With that, you can achieve up to 625-Mbyte/s board-to-board or chassis-to-chassis communications.
The Quixote can be delivered in three different configurations. Quixote I is equipped with a so-called sealed FPGA. It's pre-loaded with turnkey firmware that gives you user-friendly control of the system's analog I/O triggering to the DSP programmer.
In Quixote I, the FPGA's dual A/D data flow includes trigger control, digital error correction, FIFO buffering, and FIR (finite impulse response) filtering.
On the board's D/A output channels, the FPGA supports up-conversion using interpolation, as well as smoothing filters, digital error correction, FIFOs, and trigger control. Both A/D and D/A gain and offset corrections are done digitally in the FPGA, with coefficients saved in flash.
With Quixote I, no FPGA code development is required for the standard feature set. The version is essentially an ultra-fast data acquisition DSP card with fixed functions in the FPGA to assist in common data acquisition applications.
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Quixote II and Quixote III, on the other hand, are an equivalent open platform for VHDL developers. These spins ship with a 2-million gate and 6-Mgate Virtex II FPGAs, respectively.
A Logic Framework
Quixote II and III SBCs also include a so-called logic framework. It includes VHDL source code (except for the Xilinx DDC core) that you can use either as a basis for further customization to suit your end application, or as examples to aid in the understanding of the external interfaces and some high-efficiency data flow schemes, or for the launching of full custom application development.
This logic framework demonstrates operation and integration of all control and access tasks of all peripherals, too. You can demo analog conversion and data reduction, timebase and trigger signal routing, PLL (phase locked loop) operation, SDRAM accesses, and interface to the DSP, as well as the Xilinx DDC configuration.
For its part, Quixote-II includes 4-Mbytes of ZBT (zero bus turnaround) synchronous-burst static RAM (SBSRAM). It's interfaced to the Virtex FPGA for applications requiring large data buffers for hardware data processing. Quixote-III includes eight megs of ZBT SBSRAM.
Front-End To FPGA Coupling
Performance continues at the SBC's analog front-end. Fast enough for I/Q (in-phase and quadrature) I/O channels, the data converter stages are tightly coupled to the SBC's on-board FPGA. This can serve both narrowband or wideband RF applications. In fact, the Quixote board comes ready-to-use with digital up/down conversion channels. These are configurable as narrow or wideband receivers.
Of course, this board can also be programmed for hardware-assisted processing. In those applications, the 'C6416 DSP handles high-end signal processing such as running multi-threaded programs, adaptive algorithms, or communication with a host layer. The FPGA processing targets tasks such as channel spreading/de-spreading, channel coding, and down-conversion.
You get a 1-Gbyte/s burst bus from the FPGA to the DSP, with high-speed connectivity to the system using the 64-bit PCI interface or a ChannelLink interface. What's more, the use of private ZBT SBSRAM for the FPGA supports complex processing of large blocks of data.
With these resources on the Quixote SBC, you have the ability to implement, in software, a variety of radios, communications testers, and other high-speed applications. Or, you can customize your existing application without developing new hardware.
Innovative Integration also supplies its Pismo development software and logic framework with the Quixote. It simplifies hardware integration, letting you immediately channel your efforts towards your application. With many logic cores available for the Virtex II, including free Xilinx cores for a digital receiver/transmitter, you can build signal-processing schemes by integrating these re-usable logic designs with your specific application code.
A Quixote Development Package includes the Quixote card, TI Code Composer Studio DSP development and debugging tools, a JTAG debugger, and the Pismo toolset.
The Quixote boards cost from about $9,900 each to $16,500 each, depending on configuration.
Innovative Integration, Inc., 2655 Park Center Dr., Simi Valley, Calif. 91362. Phone: (805) 520-3300. Fax: (805) 579-1730. Be sure to check out Innovative's Web site, too.