New VPX Card Employs Spartan-6 FPGA to Satisfy Higher Computing Performance/Price Requirements

Acromag's new VPX boards feature a powerful, yet economical Spartan-6 FPGA for higher performance in algorithm acceleration or logic processing applications requiring a lower cost solution.

Wixom, MI (PRWEB) June 24, 2011 – Acromag’s new VPX-SLX series of 3U VPX FPGA boards provide powerful, but economical solutions for high-speed processing of algorithms in embedded computing applications. The VPX-SLX boards employ a configurable, logic-optimized Spartan-6 FPGA with 150k logic cells to meet demand for higher performance in cost-sensitive applications. These FPGA cards are designed to satisfy the performance requirements of many complex computing projects, at nearly half the cost, which previously required a flagship Xilinx Virtex or Altera Stratix class FPGA device. A high-throughput PCI Express interface, generous dual-ported memory for efficient data handling, and 64 I/O lines direct to the FPGA enable rapid data processing and great versatility. Ideal for defense, aerospace, or scientific research; typical applications involve signal intelligence, image processing, and hardware simulation. Pricing starts at $5200 for an air-cooled version and slightly higher in a conduction-cooled format.

“The Spartan-6 FPGA offers outstanding performance at a very attractive price,” states Joseph Primeau, Acromag’s sales and marketing director. “When teamed with a PCI Express interface, the Spartan-6 FPGA is capable of meeting the performance requirements of many applications.” Acromag’s VPX boards are optimized to rapidly transfer data between the FPGA and other system boards. A double fat pipe 4-lane PCIe interface ensures very fast data throughput. Dual-ported 1M x 64-bit SRAM enables high-speed DMA transfers to/from the CPU while simultaneously writing data to memory.

All VPX-SLX models use the XC6SLX150 Spartan-6 FPGA chip with 147,433 logic cells and 180 DSP48A1 slices. There are 64 I/O or 32 LVDS lines connected to the FPGA via the rear P2 connector. A series of AXM extension modules are available to provide additional front-end 16-bit A/D, differential RS-485, CMOS, or LVDS I/O processing channels through a mezzanine connector on the front of the card. FPGA code loads from the PCIe bus or from on-board flash memory. A JTAG and Xilinx ChipScope™ Pro interface are also supported to simplify development tasks.

For extended temperature range operation, models can be ordered with a frame for use in a conduction-cooled chassis. The standard model operates reliably over a 0 to 70°C range in an air-cooled or forced convection system. The conduction-cooled version supports a range of -40 to 85°C. And for system compatibility, Acromag’s 3U VPX cards support a number of VITA 65 slot profiles and conform to VPX VITA 46.0, 46.4 and 46.9 specifications.

Acromag’s Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop custom programs, load VHDL into the FPGA, and establish DMA transfers between the FPGA and the CPU. The kit includes a compiled FPGA file and example VHDL code provided as selectable blocks with examples for the local bus interface, read/writes, and change-of-state interrupts to the PCI bus. A JTAG interface allows users to perform on-board VHDL simulation. Further analysis is supported with a ChipScope™ Pro interface.

For easy integration of the boards with embedded Windows® applications, Acromag developed a DLL driver software package for compatibility with Microsoft® Visual C++™, and Visual Basic. Sample files with “C” source demonstration programs provide easy-to-use tools to test operation of the module.

For real time and open source applications, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks®, Linux®, and other operating systems. The libraries provide generic routines (source code included) to handle reads, writes, interrupts, and other functions. Demonstration programs enable the developer to quickly exercise the I/O modules before attaching the routines to the application program. This diagnostic tool can save hours of troubleshooting and debugging. The Linux example programs are a free download.

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They are an AS9100 and ISO-9001 certified international corporation with a world headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors. Acromag offers a complete line of embedded I/O products including bus boards, mezzanine modules, wiring accessories, and software. Industries served include military, aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and scientific research laboratories.