Nallatech adds Virtex-4 based boards - Embedded.com

Nallatech adds Virtex-4 based boards

LONDON — Nallatech has added four products to its COTS FPGA computing range, combining the processing and I/O performance of Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs with enhancements to Nallatech’s DIME-II architecture including host interface improvements and enhanced clocking.

The additions include the BenNUEY-PCI-X (pictured below), a PCI-X DIME-II motherboard with on-board Virtex-4 FX FPGA and three DIME-II expansion sites. Three FPGA Computing modules complete the set – the BenBLUE-V4 dual-FPGA processing engine, BenDATA-V4 mixed memory and digital I/O module, and BenADC-V4 ultra-high-speed analogue capture module.

The modules provide the option of Virtex-4 LX FPGAs with high performance logic capability, or the Virtex-4 SX family optimised for DSP performance.

Nallatech’s (Cumnerauld, Scotland) roadmap for its Virtex-4 products includes support for industry standard form factors, including cPCI, VME, PCI and PCI-104, – delivering up to 8 Virtex-4 FPGAs on a single COTS FPGA computing platform.

The BenNUEY-PCI-X is the 3rd generation of the BenNUEY series of PCI cards and the first to offer the 1Gbyte/s host bandwidth of the PCI-X bus. An on-board Virtex-4 FX60 or FX100 provides the ideal balance of programmable resources for processing and system management, whilst three DIME-II expansion slots allow users to optimise system resources to meet processing, memory and I/O requirements.

The BenBLUE-V4 features dual Virtex-4 LX100 or LX160 FPGAs, 64 Mbyte DDR2 SRAM, implemented on an enhanced DIME-II architecture. The BenDATA-V4 features a Virtex-4 LX or SX alongside 16 Mbytes DDR2 SRAM and 1 Gbyte DDR-II SDRAM. By using the latest DDR2 SRAM and DDR-II SDRAM, Nallatech’s new memory subsystems increase bandwidth by more than 275% compared to previous modules using technologies such as ZBT SRAM.

This allows system designers to satisfy higher processing demands, use fewer processing modules, reduce hardware dimensions and simplify integration.

The BenADC-V4 analogue capture module combines the Virtex-4 SX or LX and 16Mbytes DDR2 SRAM with four independent analogue inputs feeding four 12-bit 250 MSPS ADC channels. This will allow developers to capture, digitise, analyse and manipulate multi-channel or complex signals in real time using lightweight, low-footprint hardware with lower overall power requirements than DSP farms or other large multi-processor arrays.

Nallatech has also released details of DIMEtalk 3, an application development environment for single- and multiple-device FPGA computing systems that is easier to use than traditional design flows, shortens development time, and reduces risk.

DIMEtalk 3 is the third generation of Nallatech’s DIMEtalk environment, and delivers rapid, easy to use application development capabilities through automated configuration of system level communications, expanded libraries of pre-tested components, support for industry leading third-party tools including FPGA compilers, and integral DIME-C entry-level C-to-VHDL function generator.

DIME-C is available as part of an early access program, and provides a convenient method for engineers to implement complex hardware functions using high-level design entry.

DIMEtalk 3 builds on the FPGA networking capabilities of DIMEtalk 2, and offers seamless integration to Nallatech FPGA computing hardware platforms. System-level communications between algorithm blocks, memory and I/O interfaces are implemented quickly and easily in DIMEtalk 3 by simple drag and drop actions via an enhanced GUI.

DIMEtalk 3 retains established DIMEtalk attributes, including support for direct node-to-node transfers, asynchronous bridges, and special features such as the Xilinx Microblaze Interface Node enabling Microblaze processors in user applications to be directly coupled to the DIMEtalk network.

The extended component libraries of DIMEtalk 3 allow users to quickly implement complex hardware functions such as interfaces to common high-bandwidth external memories, saving design entry time and reducing errors and the associated debugging time.

Other components, such as bridges to Xilinx Rocket I/O blocks, allow designers to make full use of embedded FPGA architectural features.The open interfaces of DIMEtalk 3 allow engineers to augment the development environment by using third-party compiler tools, including C to FPGA flows and graphical development environments. Further third-party tools and techniques, such as algorithm-based design flows and common hardware description languages such as VHDL, are also used in conjunction with DIMEtalk 3.

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