New XMC Module with Configurable Spartan-6 FPGA Targets Cost-Sensitive Embedded Computing Tasks
Acromag's new XMC module employs Xilinx's cost-optimized Spartan-6 FPGA to help engineers with tight budget and time constraints solve high-speed DSP, logic, and algorithm computing challenges.
WIXOM, Mich., Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- To address the need for low-cost configurable FPGA computing solutions, Acromag released new XMC-SLX mezzanine modules featuring an economical Xilinx® Spartan®-6 FPGA. These thrifty XMC modules still provide plenty of computing power for custom signal processing and algorithm acceleration with the FPGA's integrated DSP, logic, and memory resources. The Spartan-6 FPGA's logic structure also 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. Pricing starts at $2895 with options for extra memory and extended temperature operation.
"Although the Spartan FPGA line is known for low cost, it now offers performance and capabilities beyond those of the largest FPGA from just a few years ago," remarked Joseph Primeau, Acromag's sales and marketing director. Engineers familiar with other Xilinx or Acromag FPGA cards can greatly reduce design time by capitalizing on shared resources. Many Spartan-6 system-level blocks and interface cores are derived from Virtex FPGAs for cross-platform compatibility and better integration. Additionally, the XMC-SLX's support software is very similar to the design kits for other Acromag modules.
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.
All models employ the logic-optimized SLX150 version of the Spartan-6 FPGA which provides 147,433 logic cells and 180 DSP slices. Units are ready for use in conduction-cooled systems and offer an option to upgrade with extended temperature range parts suitable for -40 to 85°C operation.
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 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 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. 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. The Linux example programs are a free download.
Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They are an international corporation with a world headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors. Acromag offers a complete line of embedded I/O and industrial computer products for military, aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and scientific research applications.
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