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FPGA-based starter kit accelerates design cycle

Posted: 06 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:starter kit? AdvancedTCA? FPGA? microcontroller?

ATCA BMR starter kit

Pigeon Point Systems is offering AdvancedTCA (ATCA) IPM Controller (IPMC) and ATCA/AdvancedMC (AMC) Carrier IPMC board management reference (BMR) starter kits using Actel's SmartFusion intelligent mixed-signal FPGA. SmartFusion integrates an FPGA, hard ARM Cortex-M3-based microcontroller subsystem and programmable analog.

The IPMC and Carrier IPMC solutions accelerate customer design cycles and enable designers to concentrate on differentiating ATCA board products (including those with AMC slots) instead of expending internal effort meeting management requirements for xTCA specification compliance.

The built-in flash FPGA on SmartFusion means that IP blocks can be added to the FPGA to provide management focused functionality, such as an IPMI-defined register-based external interface via the CoreLPC block, and also for board-specific functionality, eliminating the need for a separate PLD device on the board.

The 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor operates at 80MHz. According to Pigeon Point, typical existing core silicon used for management controllers operates at less than half that frequency.

The kit also packs advanced analog processing, with zero load on the ARM processor for xTCA-aware analog sensor monitoring for up to 32 analog sensors. The analog compute engine can be configured so that xTCA analogue sensors are sampled and processed via the sample sequencing engine and the post-processing engine.

Included in the kits are a common benchtop IPMC development board and a benchtop Pigeon Point Shelf Manager for system level testing, as well as the corresponding SmartFusion FPGA design in a Libero integrated design environment project, complete firmware including full source code in C for both the management controller code and development tools, comprehensive documentation and a production license that grants the rights to design and bring to market your ATCA product.

There is no per-board royalty to sell products using the Pigeon Point solutions.

- Colin Holland

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