The folks at Xilinx have just announced their solution for designs using the Virtex-7 field programmable gate array (FPGA) integrated block for PCI Express x8 Gen3 with DDR3 external memory, providing developers with all the building blocks needed to get started on PCI Express Gen3-based designs immediately.
The Xilinx integrated blocks for the PCI Express Gen3 standard along with support for 1866 Mb/s high speed memory interfaces in mid-speed grade devices allow users to design systems that meet high system bandwidth requirements needed in communications, storage, server applications, and more.
With a 40 percent performance advantage versus competing memory solutions, Xilinx allows users to accelerate productivity by offering maximum memory data rates in its mid-speed grade devices as well as built-in capabilities in its Virtex-7 XT devices for single-root I/O virtualization and multi-function end points to address the emerging needs in Data Center and cloud computing.
"Customers have the components they need to implement high-performance PCI Express x8 Gen3-based designs at the lowest BOM cost by using a mid-speed grade device," said Ketan Mehta, Xilinx PCI Express Product Manager. "In addition, Xilinx enables the highest productivity levels with industry-leading transceiver technology that provides automated tuning capabilities to quickly bring up a functioning link, including auto-adaptive Decision Feedback Equalization (DFE). This dramatically accelerates development time by simplifying the set up and use of the high-speed serial transceivers that support the PCI Express Gen3 standard."
Virtex-7 XT and HT FPGAs are the first generation of Xilinx All Programmable devices that integrate hard IP cores for the PCI Express Gen3 standard. Both Kintex™-7 and Virtex-7 FPGAs feature1866 Mb/s DDR3 external memory interfaces to further bolster the PCI Express system throughput. Xilinx's PCI Express Gen3 video demonstrates the integrated block operating on a Virtex-7 X690T FPGA with an off-the-shelf PCI Express Gen3 system.
The following video shows a demonstration of Xilinx's 1866 Mb/s DDR3 external memory interface using a mid-speed grade device on a Kintex-7 325T FPGA board:
For designs that do not use an integrated block for the PCI Express Gen3 standard, soft IP core support is available through Xilinx Alliance Program members, including Northwest Logic and PLDA.
Availability All the elements needed for PCI Express x8 Gen3-based designs are now available, including the Virtex-7 X690T FPGA with an integrated PCI express block, ISE Design Suite 14.1 software tool support, a DMA engine provided by third-party Xilinx Alliance Program members, and a 1866 Mb/s DDR3 external memory interface.
Watch the demonstration video of the Virtex-7 X690T FPGA with the integrated block for the PCI Express Gen3 standard. Visit the PCI Express standard page on Xilinx.com or contact your local sales representative for more information.
If you found this article to be of interest, visit Programmable Logic Designline where – in addition to my Max's Cool Beans blogs – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to programmable logic devices of every flavor and size (FPGAs, CPLDs, CSSPs, PSoCs...).
Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).
The high speed DDR3 interface is critical to many designs, not just PCI Express. The vast amount of computing power in FPGAs are typically limited by the memory interface bandwidth so this higher speed is a lifesaver.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.