The folks at Xilinx have announced the first shipments of their Artix-7 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) family. The new devices extend the reach of FPGA technology to applications requiring performance capabilities traditionally served by Virtex-class FPGAs, but with the form-factor of a small, low-cost programmable device.
The Artix-7 family is being targeted toward applications at the "edge" – but what does this mean? Basically, these devices are focused at applications that demand a combination of best-in-class performance with low power consumption, a small form factor, and low cost -- in a nutshell, space-, power-, and cost-constrained applications.
Think about things like ultrasound systems, which used to occupy a room and required you to go to the hospital for a scan. Now you find them in doctor's offices, which means that they have to be smaller, cheaper, and consume less power while still providing almost unbelievable computational and digital signaling performance.
This is the type of application where the Artix-7 family shines. Makers of portable medical, hand-held radio, small cellular base stations and a host of other professional grade applications that sit at the edge of their users’ technology infrastructure can now leverage high-end All Programmable FPGA capabilities to a growing number of products and expand their markets.
For portable applications where advanced functionality remains paramount, Artix-7 devices deliver best-in-class performance, power efficiency, compactness and low cost. With the first Artix-7 A100T device shipments to customers, all of Xilinx’s 7 series and Zynq-7000 families are now available in silicon, marking another major milestone in Xilinx’s rollout of its 28 nm generation of devices.
Let's return to the case of a portable ultrasound system. With 600 I/Os for 128 transducer channel support, and up to 1,406 GMACs for image processing, a single Artix-7 A350T can replace three FPGA devices required for an existing implementation, thereby reducing BOM cost by 50% and power consumption by 45% while increasing performance by 50%.
Or consider a microwave backhaul unit. The Artix-7 A350T offers 1,040 DSP slices for modem processing, 6.6 Gbps transceivers for the RF interface, and 1,066 Mb/s DDR3 data rates for the memory buffer. The end result is that a single Artix-7 A350T can replace seven components required for an existing implementation, thereby reducing BOM cost by 30% and power consumption by 50% while increasing performance by 2X.
As one final example, consider addressing the power, size, security, and waveform processing challenges in software defined radio (SDR). An Artix-7 A200T provides an anti-tamper, single-chip-crypto-enabled solution. Presented in a 19mm x 19mm package, the Artix-7 A200T offers 740 DSP slices for wideband support. The result is that a single Artix-7 A200T can replace five components required for an existing implementation, thereby reducing BOM cost by 30% and power consumption by 35% while – once again – increasing performance by 2X.“Xilinx introduced the Artix-7 family with edge applications in mind,”
said Dave Myron, Xilinx’s Director of FPGA Platform Marketing. “Artix-7 devices extend Xilinx’s low-cost product portfolio established by the Spartan families, which already play critical roles in applications ranging from 3D TVs, Automotive Infotainment, Industrial Control and Mobile Medical devices.”
The Artix-7 family pushes performance limits at the lowest levels of power consumption because Xilinx chose TSMC’s High-Performance, Low-Power (HPL) process for its 28nm generation portfolio. This means customers can achieve sub-watt total power consumption for battery powered applications like secure software defined military radios, where Artix-7 devices can offer 38% lower power consumption compared to competing FPGA solutions. Customers can combine the latest encryption IP and modem functions on a single chip for meeting size requirements while lowering BOM. Also, the rich integrated DSP capabilities in the largest member delivers 1,306 GMACs of signal processing performance for wideband waveforms, which is more than 3x the competition.
The Artix-7 family offers 65% lower static and 50% lower dynamic power consumption than previous generation devices while delivering up to sixteen 6.6 Gbp/s transceivers, meaning builders of portable ultrasound equipment can achieve the highest image resolution for meeting JESD204B high speed serial interface standards. At the same time, they can extend battery life and meet safety standards while implementing a 128-channel beam former at 40% less power than alternative FPGAs.
For builders of microwave backhaul equipment supporting 4G rollouts around the world, Artix-7 devices enable developers to integrate modem and packet processing functions on a single device and have the highest performance per watt for delivering intelligent bandwidth. In a market where the ‘Holy Grail’ is a basestation on a chip, Artix-7 devices give equipment manufacturers unprecedented levels of integration as well the programmability necessary to compete where market growth is outpacing standardization.
In Xilinx's three newest videos, Artix-7 devices demonstrate the robustness of the 6.6 Gb/s transceiver, the capabilities for DSP applications and the ultra low power characteristics of the family. These videos, a new white paper, and other resources can be found on Xilinx's Artix-7 Web Page
First Artix-7 A100T FPGAs are available today with production qualification scheduled for Q1 of CY2013. Designers can begin their Artix-7 family designs today using Xilinx design tools.
For more information, please visit www.xilinx.com/products/artix7
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