Acromag has introduced new PMC mezzanine modules featuring the cost-optimized Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA. The PMC-SLX reconfigurable FPGA modules are designed to cut costs, yet deliver high-performance computing for algorithm acceleration and custom logic processing tasks, according to Acromag.
Spartan-6 FPGAs have integrated logic, DSP, and memory resources that leverage the Virtex-6 FPGA platform’s architecture and system-level blocks for quicker and smoother system development. Acromag adds a high-throughput PCI-X interface, large memory banks, and easy access to field I/O signals to deliver a ready-to-use FPGA computing module for advanced signal processing applications. Typical uses include hardware simulation, in-circuit diagnostics, communications, signal intelligence, and image processing.
"The Spartan-6 FPGA is designed for cost-sensitive applications, but with abundant logic resources and high-speed DSP, it is more than capable for many mil-aero and industrial control functions” noted Rowland Demko, Acromag’s national sales manager.
To optimize system performance and enable cross-platform compatibility, Spartan-6 FPGAs use a dual-register 6-input LUT logic structure, built-in system-level blocks, and DSP slices derived from the high-end Virtex-6 architecture. Designers can leverage common design methodologies, development tools, and run-time platforms for greater cost savings and faster time-to-market. Acromag’s PMC-SLX support software is similar to their other FPGA design kits.
Field I/O interfaces to the FPGA via the rear J4/P4 connector and/or with optional front mezzanine I/O extension modules. 64 I/O or 32 LVDS lines are accessible through the rear connector. Acromag’s plug-in AXM mezzanine cards provide additional I/O processing capabilities. A variety of these AXM mezzanine I/O cards are available to provide front-end 14-bit 105 MHz A/D conversions or an interface for CMOS digital I/O, RS-485 differential signals, or extra LVDS I/O lines.
All models employ the logic-optimized SLX150 version of the Spartan-6 FPGA which provides 147,433 logic cells and 180 DSP slices. Dual-ported SRAM (256k or 1M x 64-bit) facilitates high-speed DMA transfers to the bus or CPU. This memory provides direct links from the PCI bus and to the FPGA. 16MB flash memory enables on-board storage and loading of the FPGA code. The 100MHz 64-bit PCI-X interface ensures fast data throughput. PMC-SLX modules are ready for use in conduction-cooled systems and offer an optional upgrade to extended temperature range parts suitable for -40 to 85°C operation.
Acromag’s Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop custom programs, load VHDL into the FPGA, and 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.
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 tools to test operation of the module.
For real time and open source applications, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, Linux, 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 exercise the I/O modules before attaching the routines to the application program. The company says this diagnostic tool can save hours of troubleshooting and debugging. The Linux example programs are free to download.
The base price of the Spartan-6 FPGA is $2895 with extra memory and extended temperature options available.
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Toni McConnel covers new products in the embedded systems industry and is a partner in the technical writing team TechRite Associates. She can be reached at Toni@TechRite-Associates.com.