VPX Cards Employ Spartan-6 FPGA for Higher Performance/Price Requirements

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A new series of 3U VPX FPGA boards provides powerful, but economical solutions for high-speed processing of algorithms in embedded computing applications. The VPX-SLX boards from Acromag employ a configurable, logic-optimized Spartan-6 FPGA with 150k logic cells to meet demand for higher performance in cost-sensitive applications. A high-throughput PCI Express interface, generous dual-ported memory for efficient data handling, and 64 I/O lines direct to the FPGA enable rapid data processing and great versatility. Ideal for defense, aerospace, or scientific research; typical applications involve signal intelligence, image processing and hardware simulation. 

All VPX-SLX models use the XC6SLX150 Spartan-6 FPGA chip with 147,433 logic cells and 180 DSP48A1 slices. There are 64 I/O or 32 LVDS lines connected to the FPGA via the rear P2 connector. A series of AXM extension modules are available to provide additional front-end 16-bit A/D, differential RS-485, CMOS, or LVDS I/O processing channels through a mezzanine connector on the front of the card. FPGA code loads from the PCIe bus or from onboard flash memory. A JTAG and Xilinx ChipScope Pro interface are also supported to simplify development tasks.

For extended temperature range operation, models can be ordered with a frame for use in a conduction-cooled chassis. The standard model operates reliably over a 0 to 70°C range in an air-cooled or forced convection system. The conduction-cooled version supports a range of -40° to 85°C. And for system compatibility, Acromag’s 3U VPX cards support a number of VITA 65 slot profiles and conform to VPX VITA 46.0, 46.4 and 46.9 specifications.

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. The libraries provide generic routines (source code included) to handle reads, writes, interrupts and other functions. Pricing starts at $5,200 for an air-cooled version and slightly higher in a conduction-cooled format.

Acromag, Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. [].