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April 2011

XMC Module with Configurable FPGA Targets Cost-Sensitive Embedded Tasks

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To address the need for low-cost configurable FPGA computing solutions, a series of new XMC-SLX mezzanine modules features an economical Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA. The Spartan-6 FPGA’s logic structure leverages the premium-performance Virtex FPGA platform’s architecture and system-level blocks for faster, easier and more compatible development. Acromag supports the FPGA with a high-throughput PCIe interface, generous memory and convenient access to field I/O signals. Typical uses include hardware simulation, in-circuit diagnostics, communications, signal intelligence and image processing. 

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.

Large, high-speed memory banks enable high-efficiency data handling. 256k x 64-bit, or optional 1M x 64-bit, dual-ported SRAM facilitates high-speed DMA transfers to the bus or CPU. This memory provides direct links from the PCIe bus and to the FPGA. The high-bandwidth PCIe 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 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 onboard 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 real-time and open-source applications, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, Linux and other operating systems. Pricing starts at $2,895 with options for extra memory and extended temperature operation.

Acromag, Wixom, WI. (248) 295-0310. [www.acromag.com].