Monday 21 June 2010

High performance data acquisition & processing

Pentek has announced a new member of its Cobalt product family leveraging Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs for high-performance data acquisition and signal processing - the 71660 four-channel data acquisition module. Targeting radar and communications applications requiring next-generation performance, the product is a natural successor to Pentek's popular Virtex-5 FPGA 7150 board family, improving signal quality and tripling DSP resources.

"The 71660 delivers critical performance levels previously unattainable and provides an excellent technology-insertion path for existing applications,"
said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. "Its four front-end data acquisition channels offer the industry's highest resolution, and the back-end PCI Express interface offers at least four times the throughput of previous PCI-X interfaces. Between them lies a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA with over 2000 DSP slices to handle the toughest real-time signal processing tasks. We've built in several popular data acquisition features inspired by customers using our earlier-generation boards."

"Pentek is taking full advantage of the Virtex-6 family's functionality in their Cobalt product line, achieving sustained data throughput at 80% of the built-in PCI Express interface's theoretical peak data rate,"
said Xilinx senior manager, Platform Solutions, Raj Seelam. "They are also able to leverage the Virtex family's reduced power requirements to create boards that will support any Virtex-6 FPGA the customer requires."

High Performance Data Acquisition
The four 200 MSPS, 16-bit data acquisition channels of the 71660 deliver nearly 90 dB of spurious free dynamic range, allowing users to detect small signals of interest surrounded by large interferers. The channels operate from a common clock that can come from an external source or an on-board, programmable, crystal-controlled oscillator. An external clock can also be used as a phase-lock reference for the internal oscillator. The 71660 also utilizes two sync and two gate/trigger signals for synchronizing data acquisition channels across multiple modules.
Modular Memory

Four independent memory banks provide the 71660 with a capacity of up 2 GB of DDR3 SDRAM for applications requiring deep memory, or up to 32 MB of QDRII+ SRAM for applications requiring fast random access. The memory can also be configured to offer two banks of each type, giving users the flexibility to accommodate complex applications. Built-in functions of the memory controller include multi-channel ADC data capture, data streaming, and tagging of data streams with metadata packets that include channel ID, sample count and time stamp information.

Turnkey Functionality with User Configurability
The Virtex-6 FPGA on the 71660 provides customers with a combination of turnkey and custom functionality. Customers can select the specific FPGA device installed, ranging from the lower-cost LX130T to the high-performance SX475T with up to 2016 DSP slices. The board ships with the FPGA configured to provide synchronization, triggering, multiplexing and data acquisition features including a complete radar range gate engine. Users can immediately take full advantage of these advanced 71660 features with no additional FPGA programming. In even with the smallest member of the Virtex-6 family, these built-in functions occupy no more than 40% of the FPGA's resources, providing users with ample opportunity to add their own IP.

The FPGA controls and implements data flow paths for all resources on the board, giving users full command of board operation when desired. Users can configure the FPGA using Pentek's GateFlow Design Kit. The Cobalt version of GateFlow has been optimized for the Virtex-6 family and features increased modularity to help simplify development.

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