Fast A/D conversion, FPGA technologies combine in Pentek’s VME board

Combining leading technologies often leads to synergistic results. Intended for high-frequency data acquisition and digital signal processor (DSP) applications, a new VMEbus board from Pentek Inc. combines high-speed analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion and the latest field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technologies in a single-channel, 6U format.

02/12/2004



Pricing for Pentek’s Model 6821 VME Board with fast A/D converter and Virtex-II Pro FPGAs starts at $7,595.

Combining leading technologies often leads to synergistic results. Intended for high-frequency data acquisition and digital signal processor (DSP) applications, a new VMEbus board from Pentek Inc . combines high-speed analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion and the latest field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technologies in a single-channel, 6U format.
Pentek Model 6821features Analog Devices ’ AD9430, 12-bit A/D converter—said to be one of the fastest in the market—directly connected to two new Virtex-II Pro FPGAs from Xilinx . The A/D converter provides sampling rates up to 210 MHz, with its clock sourced either from an internal crystal oscillator or from an external sinusoidal clock. Each FPGA has up to 6 million system gates and as many as 232 hardware multipliers, which together with on-chip configurable RAM make these FPGAs ideal for handing real-time DSP algorithms at the 210 MHz A/D sampling rate, according to Pentek.
"Model 6821 customers can now digitize a 100-MHz bandwidth signal and process it in real time," says Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. "Our new 6821 can be used as a stand-alone system or as a powerful front-end preprocessor for Motorola G4 PowerPC and Texas Instruments C6000 DSP boards."
The new VME board accepts one front-panel analog input and delivers digital output samples over two or four front-panel data port connectors. Each output port supports FPGA data transfer rates of 320 Mbps. Also in the front panel, a low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) bus supports synchronous, triggered data acquisition across multiple boards. This capability is essential for multi-channel applications such as radar and direction finding, says Pentek.

The two FPGAs are optionally equipped with 128 MB of SDRAM for data delay and buffering capacities, critical for radar, signal intelligence, and other real-time applications where a digital delay is essential.

Pentek’s GateFlow FPGA development resources complement the VME board, including a Design Kit that supports user-defined FPGA algorithms; IP Core Library; digital receivers and radar pulse-compression algorithms; and factory-installed IP cores.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering, fbartos@reedbusiness.com





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