SAN FRANCISCOXilinx Inc. Wednesday (June 24) delivered on the next phase of the targeted design platform concept it outlined earlier this year, rolling out evaluation kits for its Virtex-6 and Spartan-6 field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).
The evaluation kits are part of the "base" targeted design platform for logic and connectivity designers, containing building blocks common in virtually all system designs to address a broad set of markets and applications, according to Xilinx. The company plans to launch "domain-specific" evaluation kits later this year for embedded, digital signal processing and connectivity applications.
In addition to the kits, the base-level platform consists of the 11.2 release of the ISE Design Suite, expanded intellectual property (IP) portfolio and pre-verified reference designs targeting Virtex-6 or Spartan-6 FPGAs.
The goal of the targeted design platform concept, first articulated by Xilinx in February during the Virtex-6 and Spartan-6 introduction, is to deliver a validated set of components that encompasses about 80 percent of a design for various target applications, allowing customers to focus their resources to add differentiating features in the remaining 20 percent.
According to Brent Przybus, Xilinx director of product marketing, the kits offer both new and experienced FPGA users everything they need to design right out of the box, evaluate the devices and explore design tradeoffs.
"Even if you are an FPGA expert and you understand what is happening, we've provided a framework that you can use to migrate your design [to Virtex-6 or Spartan-6]," Przybus said.
Utilizing system functions that have been pre-validated to work together in the base platform, designers are able to slash development time by as much as half compared to traditional design methodologies, according to Xilinx. Reference designs then guide designers on best practices for integrating custom elements into the base design and implementing advanced features, such as DDR2 and DDR3 memory interfaces, high-speed serial I/O, and on-chip clocking resources, the company said.
The kits utilize a unified board strategy and open platform implementation, according to Xilinx. The company said it has adopted the FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) for all board development. This standards-based approach enables the most efficient creation of specialized IP, components, and base boards with FMC connectors for daughter card extensions by Xilinx and its network of third party component and board suppliers, the company said.
The Spartan-6 FPGA SP601 evaluation kit, available now, is priced at $295. It is described as a low-cost, entry-level environment for developing consumer, infotainment, video and other cost and power-sensitive applications using Spartan-6. The kit includes a Spartan-6 LX16 evaluation board, ISE Design Suite 11.2 WebPACK, reference designs, cables, power supply, a demo and documentation. More information about the kit is available on Xilinx' website.
The Virtex-6 FPGA ML605 evaluation kit, priced at $1,995, is expected to be available next month. It's described as a scalable environment for developing sophisticated system designs with Virtex-6 LX240T FPGA targeted at wired telecommunications, wireless infrastructure, broadcast and other high performance applications. The kit includes a Virtex-6 LX240T evaluation board, ISE Design Suite 11.2 Logic Edition, reference designs, cables, power supply, a demo, board design files and documentation.
Next year Xilinx plans to roll out "market-specific" platforms for the communications, video and broadcast markets. These platforms will include market-specific IP, custom tools and custom boards.