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Board synchronizes 2GHz A/D processing modules

Posted: 24 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:gate distribution board? analog signal? signal integrity? flash memory?

Pentek Inc. has released its Model 6890, a 2.2GHz clock, synch and gate distribution board for synchronizing multiple Pentek I/O modules. The Model 6890 facilitates sampling and timing for different multichannel, high-speed DAQ, DSP and software-radio applications. Configured as a 6U VME board, the Model 6890 synchronizes up to eight modules, each receiving a common clock up to 2.2GHz along with timing signals for synchronizing, triggering and gating functions. The Model 6890 currently supports Pentek's Model 6826 Dual 2GHz, 10bit ADC VME board.

Developed to address the critical timing needs of synchronous multichannel DAQ and DSP systems, the Model 6890 board simplifies system integration tasks. For example, when combined with eight Model 6826 dual-channel 2GHz, 10bit ADC modules, the resulting system provides 16 ADCs all sampling at 2GHz, plus eight FPGAs with a total of 352,000 programmable slices and 800,000 logic cells. Additional resources of up to 8Gbyte of DDR memory and 128Mbytes of flash provide a complete real-time data acquisition and DSP environment for extremely wide band signals.

The Model 6826 features single- or dual-channel DAQ at 2GSPS with 10bit resolution using Atmel AT84AS008. By accepting single-ended transformer or DC-coupled inputs, the board preserves signal integrity across a variety of analog signal sources.

Since its introduction into the marketplace more than a year ago, this product has opened up a whole new range of previously unattainable frequencies and applications. It directly digitizes signal bandwidths up to nearly 900 MHz, thereby capturing wideband radar and communication signals as a single channel instead of digitizing several smaller bandwidth slices. The inclusion of the Virtex-II Pro FPGA is essential for processing these wideband signals to extract information and reduce data rates to a manageable level within the system.

The AT84AS008 combines dynamic performance, compactness and ease of use to speed system development with Pentek's high-performance VME board.

On-board signal processing
With this density equivalent of more than 11 million system gates, the Xilinx XC2VP100 Virtex-II Pro FPGA offers advanced signal-processing resource for the stream of data from the ADCs. On-board logic first de-multiplexes the 2GHz raw 10bit A/D samples by a factor of eight, producing 80bit words at a reduced rate of 250MHz for delivery to the FPGA. The FPGA then performs various standard functions on the data, including memory transfers, formatting, triggering, gating and delivery to the FPDP and VMEbus interfaces. The FPGA also handles the switched, serial-fabric VXS interface using the on-chip RocketIO Gbit serial transceivers.

Since most of the logic and DSP resources remain unused for these factory functions, developers can take advantage of these parallel-processing structures to implement custom signal-processing algorithms and process captured data in real time. To simplify FPGA development tasks, Pentek offers its GateFlow FPGA Resources, which include the GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, GateFlow IP Cores Libraries and GateFlow factory installed IP cores. Moreover, Pentek's ReadyFlow libraries enable the user to control the Model 6826 across the backplane from SBC and DSP boards through high-level C-callable commands.

Extensive memory, interfaces
The Model 6826 also features extensive memory resources. Dual 64-bit high-speed DDR SDRAMs provide a total of 512Mbytes or 1Gbyte of memory to store raw data in transient-capture mode. The memory can also be used as an elastic buffer for storing burst signals like radar pulses in real time and subsequent delivery to the I/O interfaces at a lower continuous rate. Custom FPGA configurations can take advantage of this large memory for more complex applications. Flash memory of 16Mbytes allows boot-code storage for the two IBM 405 PowerPC MCU cores within the FPGA.

To support high-bandwidth data capture, the board includes several high-speed I/O channels to move the raw data off-board for storage or processing. Two or four channels of FPDP-II data ports, operating at up to 400MBps each, deliver processed and de-multiplexed data through legacy connections to other VME cards. The board also offers two serial switched-fabric VXS connections, each running full-duplex at 1.25GBps to support the Xilinx Aurora, Serial RapidIO and PCIe protocols. LVDS I/O is also available at either front- or rear-panel connections.

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