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Starter kit features Altera Cyclone IV GX FPGA, HSMC boards

Posted: 29 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Embedded computing? embedded processor? FPGA Starterkit?

Kontron, has just introduced its COM Express Starterkit offering the Altera Cyclone IV GX FPGA and having all the needed components to evaluate board designs with open-definable I/Os.

With this Kontron COM Express FPGA Starterkit, OEM developers can jump-start their development of FPGA-based, dedicated applications, while reducing their overall R&D costs, as well as the time-to-market for their purpose-built platforms.

For developers planning to build an application that relies on I/O unique to the application, the Starterkit is a suitable tool to maximize overall development. The components of the kit are readily assembled in minutes, enabling the user to progress directly to programming on the platform. In turn, this consists of the selected Computer-on-Module and the individual High Speed Mezzanine Cards (HSMC) to carry out the physical interfaces. OEMs may also utilize the Starterkit to develop dedicated full-custom SBC designs or individual custom carrierboards for scalable x86 based COMs (both with I/Os integrated in Altera's transceiver-based FPGA, Cyclone IV GX).

As a design partner, Kontron brings development and manufacturing services such as revision management and industry-specific certifications, including ITAR and ISO 13485 (a certification necessary for the design and manufacturing of medical devices). Meanwhile, FPGA-based I/Os on x86 processor platforms are applicable to many target markets since FPGAs can universally map to nearly all I/Os.

CTO of Kontron AG, Dirk Finstel explains, "Legacy interfaces currently are a very important domain not served by today's chipsets. Examples include: ISA, CAN, RS232, and PCI. Moreover, industrial Ethernet configurations such as Profibus, Ethercat, Ethernet POWERLINK, etc., are very important IP cores as well, that can all be implemented in the Altera Cyclone IV GX FPGA. In addition, we are also addressing customized individual solutions and existing proprietary platforms that so far are not based on x86 technology." He further adds, "Ideally, we also can use such platforms for highly reliable and long-term-available embedded system solutions in nearly all markets. Among other things, they will be used in military technology, for trains and aircraft, for medical technology, in industrial automation and in many other applications where high long-term availability plays a decisive role."

The relationship between Kontron, Intel and Altera benefits customers with a complete embedded processor and FPGA solutions with flexible I/O. These fully validated and verified solutions consist of a number of form factors which include the processors, FPGAs, IP Cores, drivers, board support packages (BSPs) and support for various operating systems (e.g. Windows, VxWorks, Linux, etc.). On the other hand, Kontron's Global Software Design Center also brings FPGA programming as an optional software service for customers.

The feature set in brief: The Kontron COM Express FPGA Starterkit includes all components needed for a quick start. The main component is the COM Express FPGA Baseboard for pin-out Types 1, 2 and 10 COMs such as the Kontron ETXexpress, microETXexpress or nanoETXexpress modules. The Altera Cyclone IV GX FPGA is designed into the carrierboard and the specific I/Os are configured via enclosed IP bitstreams. The configuration of the FPGA is possible via the enclosed USB-Blaster download cable as well as through the physical interfaces, brought about by two High Speed Mezzanine Cards (HSMCs) -- one Communication Board and one Mass storage and Video Board. Finally, an ATX PSU and mounting kit complete the elements of the Kontron Starterkit.

Availability: The first evaluation models of the Kontron COM Express FPGA Starterkit are available today. Series production is slated for Q1 2011.

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