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VME/VXS board does high-performance DSP, DAQ

Posted: 30 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:VME board-level technology? digital signal processing? DSP? data-acquisition systems? DAQ?

Pentek Inc. has launched Model 4207, a VME/VXS board for high-performance DSP and DAQ systems. The board employs Freescale Semiconductor Inc.'s MPC8641D Dual Core PowerPC AltiVec Processor and a Xilinx Inc. Virtex-4 FX Series FPGA.

Also, Pentek's fabric-transparent crossbar switch bridges a wealth of gigabit serial resources, including the PowerPC and FPGA, two XMCs, dual VXS ports, dual Fibre Channel ports and two optical serial transceivers. Native protocols support PCIe, Serial RapidIO, Fibre Channel and Aurora, all accommodated by the crossbar switch. Up to 4Gbyte of fast DDR2 SDRAM simplifies data buffering and boosts real-time signal processing.

The VME/VXS Model 4207 brings to designers extraordinary power, speed and connectivity in a single-slot solution, making it well suited for wideband, data acquisition-and-recording, real-time digital signal-processing and software-radio applications.

"What's so remarkable about the Model 4207 is that it combines so many standard interfaces and protocolsVXS, PMC, XMC, PCI-X, PCIe, GbE, RocketIO, Serial RapidIO, Fibre Channel, Xilinx Aurora and VME64x technologiesall in one extremely flexible, single-slot solution," says Rodger Hosking, VP of Pentek. He adds, "The crossbar switch, the two PMC/XMC sites and the user-programmable FPGA offer customers the connectivity and flexibility they need to handle a tremendous range of tough applications. What's more, the on-board Fibre Channel interface makes the 4207 ideal for high-speed real-time recording at rates up to 800MBps."

Processing power
The Model 4207 is equipped with either a single-core MPC8641 or a dual-core MPC8641D executing at a maximum frequency of 1.5GHz. The very latest AltiVec Freescale PowerPC processors, they perform 128bit parallel processing of multiple data elements (single-instruction, multiple-data stream) and deliver DSP floating-point processing rates of up to 12,000GFLOPS.

The processor includes built-in gigabit fabric support with both 8x PCIe and 4x Serial RapidIO serial data ports. Up to 2Gbyte DDR2 SDRAM is available to the processor for program and data memory, along with a non-volatile 128MByte flash for initialization, self-test and boot code. Processor clock options are from 1.0GHz to1.5GHz.

FPGA flexibility
The Model 4207 includes options for an on-board Xilinx Virtex-4 FX Series FPGA, the XC4VFX60 or XC4VFX100. Two 4X RocketIO ports provide a high-speed serial path between the FPGA and the crossbar switch for connection to other parts of the board, including the processor, VXS interface and XMC sites. These ports can also be configured as four 2X paths. The FPGA can be optionally equipped with 1- or 2GByte of DDR2 SDRAM along with 128Mbyte flash.

Developers can take advantage of unused FPGA resources to implement custom signal-processing algorithms and to process captured data in real time. To simplify FPGA development tasks, Pentek offers its GateFlow FPGA Resources.

Pentek's GateFlow FPGA Design Kit enables the onboard FPGA to be configured by the user for implementation of custom pre-processing functions such as FFTs, FIR filters and software-radio blocks. The kit includes VHDL source files and works in conjunction with the Xilinx ISE Foundation design tools.

Fabric-Transparent Crossbar
In addition to the processing power described, the fabric-transparent crossbar switch of the Model 4207 offers extraordinary high-speed connectivity. Since the processor configures all routing paths, the switch simply passes the gigabit serial traffic from one port to another, totally independent of any particular protocol. Multiple data streams can be sent through the switch simultaneously, even if they have different protocols.

Because all high-speed interfaces on the board connect through the switch, paths can be configured to meet specific requirements. For example, XMC modules can transfer data through the switch to the on-board FPGA, to the processor, to the other XMC or to another board over the VXS connector. Similar types of connections are available for other resources, using any protocol that the connected devices support, including Serial RapidIO, PCIe, Xilinx Aurora and InfiniBand protocols.

"The Model 4207 has all the resources customers need for extremely- high-performance systems. With virtually every major high-speed interconnection capability, the Model 4207 is well suited for high-speed real-time recording, wideband data acquisition, real-time digital signal processing and software radio. However, by depopulating features, lower-cost versions of the board can also handle relatively simple systems, like a single-board computer with a PowerPC and single PMC module," says Hosking. "By standardizing on the Model 4207, systems integrators will find that this one board scales very nicely to a wide range of applications."

The 4207 is compatible with any COTS PMC or XMC module. Pentek's offerings include a variety of A/Ds, transceivers, digital receivers, and processing PMC and XMC modules. Pentek VxWorks and Linux Board Support Packages provide software developers with a complete library of hardware-initialization, control and application functions to be used in a real-time VxWorks or Linux operating environment.

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