Xilinx offers DSP-FPGA synergism



FPGA adds synergism to DSP performance via XtremeDSP's roadmap.

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are here to help raise the performance of digital signal processors (DSPs). In late October 2005, Xilinx Inc. unveiled a strategy and product roadmaps for application-optimized DSP devices—named XtremeDSP. Intended for the $2 billion high-performance DSP market, initial targets for XtremeDSP include digital communications, defense/aerospace, and multimedia and video imaging (MVI) applications. FPGA-based XtremeDSP solutions promise to integrate special hardware platforms, system-level application knowledge, software algorithms, and intellectual property (IP) libraries. Software tools and development kits are offered to ease users' implementation of DSP algorithms in FPGA devices.
XtremeDSP roadmaps add new and specialized capabilities that make Xilinx solutions a better fit for high-performance, application-specific system development, according to the company. "With FPGAs, developers can 'dial-in' the level of DSP performance desired," David Squires, senior director of marketing, Xilinx DSP division, told Control Engineering . Xilinx also is partnering with Texas Instruments and The Math Works to deliver complementary DSP systems.
The MVI roadmap focuses on automotive, enterprise IT, surveillance, broadcast, medical, and other areas. Key elements are development platforms to accelerate video/image processing system design, advanced video codecs (compressions/decompressions), and an extensive video IP library. The defense/aerospace systems roadmap concentrates on military communications, intelligence, and sensors.


Xilinx co-processing daughter card on XEVM642 development kit processes 77 GMACs (giga multiply accumulate operations) per second, creating a powerful DSP/FPGA co-processing platform.

First in a series of products to be released for XtremeDSP roadmap is MVI-related. It consists of Video Starter Kit Virtex-4 SX35; Video Co-Processing XEVM642 development kit; and new MPEG4 encoder/decoder IP cores. SX35 kit comes with a software suite: a streamlined version of new 8.li System Generator for DSP and Integrated Software Environment FPGA design tools. Hardware includes SX35 development board and video IO daughter card, CMOS image sensor camera, cables/adapters, full user documentation, and reference designs. XEVM642 development kit offers a high-performance Xilinx daughter card for Texas Instruments' DM642 EVM processor. It accelerates the processor's DSP capability via the Virtex-4 SX35 XtremeDSP engine. MPEG4 encoder/decoder cores handle scalable resolutions up to 720 x 486 pixels at 30 frames per second.
MPEG4 IP core is available now, while kits will be available in Dec. 2005. Pricing for Video Starter Kit Virtex-4 SX35 and Video Co-Processing XEVM642 development kit is $1,495 and $1,995, respectively. MPEG4 IP cores sell separately for $20,000 for the decoder option and $25,000 for the encoder option.

Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering

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