XMC module from Acromag mates Virtex-5 FPGA with PCI Express interface and deep memory

WIXOM, Mich., 2 Oct. 2010. Acromag's new XMC-VLX mezzanine modules feature a configurable Xilinx Virtex-5 field programmable gate array (FPGA) enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers and a high-throughput PCI Express interface. The device is targeted at hardware simulation, military servers, in-circuit diagnostics, communications, signals intelligence, and image processing applications.

Pennwell web 120 80

Pennwell web 120 80Posted by John McHale

WIXOM, Mich., 2 Oct. 2010. Acromag's new XMC-VLX mezzanine modules feature a configurable Xilinx Virtex-5 field programmable gate array (FPGA) enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers and a high-throughput PCI Express interface. The device is targeted at hardware simulation, military servers, in-circuit diagnostics, communications, signals intelligence, and image processing applications.

Field I/O interfaces to the FPGA via the rear J4/P4 connector and/or with optional front mezzanine plug-in I/O modules to create a I/O processor module that is capable of executing custom instruction sets and algorithms.

"These XMC Virtex-5 FPGA modules combine very advanced signal processing capabilities with high speed data transfer in a remarkably affordable package" says Joseph Primeau, Acromag's embedded sales and marketing director.

Three models provide a choice of logic-optimized FPGAs to match the performance requirements. Cards can be ordered with a Xilinx VLX85T, VLX110T, or VLX155T FPGA featuring as many as 155,000 logic cells and 128 DSP48E slices. Each model is ready for use in conduction-cooled systems and offers an option to upgrade with extended temperature range parts suitable for -40 to 85 degrees Celsius operation.

There are 64 I/O lines accessible through the rear (J4) connector. Additional I/O processing is supported on a separate mezzanine card that plugs into the FPGA base board. A variety of these 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 low voltage differential signaling (LVDS) I/O lines.

The device has 32M x 32-bit DDR2 SDRAM buffers that store captured data prior to FPGA processing. The data is directly accessible through the FPGA. Afterward, data is moved to the 1M by 64-bit dual-ported SRAM for high-speed DMA transfer to the bus or CPU. This memory provides direct links from the PCI Express bus and to the FPGA. The high-bandwidth PCI Express 4-lane interface ensures fast data throughput.

Acromag's Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop custom programs, load VHDL into the FPGA and to 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 easy-to-use tools to test operation of the module.

For connectivity with real-time application programs, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, QNX, 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 quickly exercise the I/O modules before attaching the routines to the application program. This diagnostic tool can save hours of troubleshooting and debugging. Free Linux example programs are also available.

The boards start at $5500 with several options for FPGA logic capacity and extended temperature operation.

For more information about Acromag products, call 877-295-7092 or visit www.acromag.com.

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