FPGA mezzanine card carrier suits DSP applications

23rd February 2015
Barney Scott

Pentek has introduced the latest member of its Flexor line of FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) carriers: the Model 7070 PCIe FMC carrier with a Virtex-7 FPGA. As a stand-alone signal processing board, it provides a suitable development and deployment platform for demanding DSP applications. Combined with any of Pentek’s FMCs, it creates a complete radar and software radio solution.

The Flexor Model 7070 features a high pin-count VITA 57.1 FMC site, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, PCI Express (Gen. 1, 2 and 3) interface up to eight times, optional twelve user-configurable gigabit serial I/O and optional LVDS connections to the FPGA for custom I/O.

The Flexor Model 7070 deliver I/O performance through the built-in gigabit serial interface with optional optical transceivers, making 12 full duplex optical lanes available to an MTP connector. With the installation of a serial protocol in the FPGA, this interface enables a high bandwidth connection between 7070s mounted within the same chassis or over extended distances between chassis.

The Flexor Model 7070 comes preconfigured with a suite of built-in IP functions for data capture, synchronisation, time-tagging and formatting. When integrated with a Pentek FMC, such as the Flexor Model 3312 or 3316, the Model 7070 is delivered with factory-installed IP modules optimised for the analogue or digital interfaces of each FMC. These can include A/D acquisition engines and D/A waveform generation engines to simplify data capture and signal generation. Together, they provide a suitable turn-key signal interface for radar, communications or general data acquisition applications, eliminating the integration effort typically left for the user when integrating an FMC and carrier.

By plugging the Model 7070 PCIe FMC carrier into a Pentek 8266 SPARK PC development system, developers can immediately start application development. The SPARK system saves engineers the time and expense associated with building and testing a development system and ensures optimum performance of Pentek boards. All SPARK development systems come with software and hardware installed and ready for immediate operation.

While many applications can be satisfied with the board’s built-in functions, the Flexor Model 7070 is a suitable development and deployment platform for custom IP.  Supported by the Pentek GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, users have access to the complete factory installed IP at the source level, allowing them to extend or even replace the built in functions.

The Pentek GateXpress PCIe Configuration Manager supports dynamic FPGA reconfiguration though software commands as part of the runtime application.  This provides an efficient way to quickly reload the FPGA, which occurs many times during development.  For deployed environments, GateXpress enables reloading the FPGA without the need to reset the host system, suiting applications that require dynamic access to multiple processing IP algorithms.

The Pentek ReadyFlow Board Support Package is available for Windows and Linux operating systems.  ReadyFlow is provided as a C-callable library, the complete suite of initialisation, control and status functions, as well as a rich set of precompiled, ready-to-run-examples, accelerate application development.

“The 7070 has many useful capabilities,” said Rodger Hosking, Vice-President, Pentek. “The optical transceivers provide a direct pipeline to the FPGA for very high bandwidth links to remote sensors or systems. The powerful Virtex-7 handles the most challenging DSP tasks, and installing an FMC transforms the 7070 into a complete I/O subsystem.”

The Flexor Model 7070 PCIe FMC carrier is designed for commercial and extended temperature operating environments. The Flexor Model 7070 module with 4GB of memory starts at $15,995. Delivery is 8-10 weeks ARO.

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