1/27/2004 - Dy 4 Systems, a business unit of Force Computers, a Solectron company, introduced a new product to its CHAMP line of high density processing solutions, the CHAMP-FX that brings the power of FPGA-based processing to the family.
The CHAMP-FX is a 6U VME form-factor board designed around a pair of Xilinx Virtex-II ProTM FPGAs as the core engines. The CHAMP-FX provides a balanced architecture with high-bandwidth memory and I/O subsystems to effectively harness the computational power of the Virtex-II Pro. Each FPGA is fitted with 256MB of DDR SDRAM and 8MB of DDRII SRAM that together provide more than 8GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Algorithms needing intermediate storage benefit from the fast SRAM, while the large SDRAM is often needed for input and output data buffers. Both memories can serve application code running on the hardwired PowerPC of the Virtex-II Pro.
To keep the processing engines fed with data, the FX has numerous high-speed I/O capabilities including 3GB/sec of RocketIOTM, two PMC/XMC sites that feature 64-bit, 66MHz PCI interfaces (528MB/sec peak) and also parallel LVDS interfaces (1GB/sec bi-directional) compliant with the VITA 42 XMC Switched Mezzanine specification. The VITA 42 capability will support next generation PMC modules such as digital radio receivers that can use the high bandwidth connection between PMC and FPGA.
Systems comprised of multiple CHAMP-FXs can be interconnected via the on-board RocketIO high-speed serial interfaces. The CHAMP-FX also integrates with Dy 4's PowerPC products via two StarFabric bridges that provide approximately 880MB/sec of bandwidth into a StarFabric network.
The CHAMP-FX is suited to the front-end processing of radar, sonar and signal-intelligence applications that typically have very high data rates and algorithmic requirements that can be implemented effectively with FPGAs. For these types of applications the FX can replace tens to hundreds of PowerPC processors, resulting in lower system power, weight and cost. Conversely, the power of FPGA processing allows developers to offer upgrades to existing systems with significant additional capability.
"The CHAMP-FX is a critical component of our total DSP solution," said Rob Hoyecki, DSP product manager for Dy 4 Systems. "We offer customers complete switch fabric connected systems that comprise PowerPC and FPGA processing, distributed I/O and a high performance interprocessor communication software layer that abstracts the hardware to simplify the task of building multi-processor application software.
To reduce customer's time to market, the CHAMP-FX will be supported with a library of reference designs and ready-to-use VHDL modules to implement memory interfaces, DMA, PCI, RocketIO and support for the Xilinx II Pro internal PowerPC processor.
Currently, the CHAMP-FX is the only product of its kind that is suitable for deployment in harsh environment systems. The board will be offered in commercial air-cooled, rugged air-cooled and conduction cooled configurations. The CHAMP-FX has numerous features targeted at the needs of designers of rugged embedded systems including power and thermal monitoring functions.
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