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Beyond Physical: Solving High-end FPGA Design Challenges

The advantages of using programmable logic to get electronic products to market quickly with less risk and cost are well known and recent market drivers have shifted even further in their favor; new economic realities coupled with changing consumer behavior, shorter product life cycles, richer feature sets, and faster upgrades, to name a few. In step with these demands, high-end FPGAs are now architected using geometries down to 40nm and with capacities of up to five million equivalent ASIC gates. They include performance optimized I/O’s and dedicated DSP architectures that together enable extremely powerful and cost-effective solutions. For these reasons, FPGAs are also widely used to realistically prototype and validate ASIC designs at orders of magnitude higher speeds than are possible with traditional acceleration or emulation based solutions.

New Approaches to Hardware Acceleration Using Ultra Low Density FPGAs

Ask system designers to list the problems they face – it doesn’t matter whether they’re building mobile consumer, automotive, industrial, medical or scientific applications – and inevitably they’ll mention optimizing host processor performance. It’s hardly surprising. The event-driven architecture of these MPUs allows them to multitask and address new priorities as they occur. But as the number of I/O continues to rise, it also places escalating demand on bandwidth. Tasked with managing a wider array of I/O as well as other system-wide command and control functions, today’s host MPUs must remain operational for longer periods of time, thereby consuming precious power and compute resources.

Graphics Rendering and Video Processing with Altera SoC and Helio View Dev Kit

For performance-critical applications like graphics and video rendering, the partitioning between software and hardware can be a pivotal decision. Today, exciting new devices allow us to make and evaluate those tradeoffs more easily than ever. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Troy Jones (Macnica Americas) and Todd Koelling (Altera) about creating video and graphics applications using the Helio View development board with Altera SoC FPGAs.

Introducing Digitally Enhanced Power Analog

Analog power has always been the standard. New digital power modules offer great flexibility, but that comes with a price. For many applications, we'd love to have the simplicity and efficiency of analog power with the features of digital power. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia Dalton chats with Steve Stella from Microchip Technology about mixing the best of digital and analog power.

It's an Analog World After All

It's an analog world out there. And, while most microcontrollers offer terrific features in the digital and software domain, Microchip has a new family of MCUs with Intelligent Analog capabilities that can make a huge difference in connecting your design to the real world. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Alexis Alcott of Microchip about harnessing the power of Intelligent Analog in MCU design.

Cadence Low Power Solution - RTL to GDSII Low Power Design

Low-power design used to be an afterthought. Today, however, we need to consider power throughout the entire design cycle - from RTL all the way through GDSII. And, we can have significant impact on overall power consumption with optimizations at just about every stage. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Pete Hardee of Cadence about a holistic approach to low-power design.

Overcome the Challenges of Highly Constrained Designs

Many of today's high-performance board designs have complex timing constraints, and meeting all those constraints can be a significant design challenge. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Jim Martens of Mentor Graphics about advanced design techniques with PADS that will help get you to design closure faster and with fewer headaches on complex, highly-constrained boards.

Battery Management Solutions

Designing battery-powered systems can be challenging. In addition to power and form-factor considerations, today's batteries require sophisticated charging and monitoring for maximum safety, life, and performance. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Richard DelRossi of Texas Instruments about battery management solutions that can dramatically simplify your next battery-powered design while adding important monitoring capabilities to your device.

High Speed Converters: What? Why? (and a little How?)

As we move our analog-to-digital conversion closer to the beginning of our signal chain, the performance demands can get extreme. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with David Robertson - VP at Analog Devices about how to design high-speed converters for today's most demanding applications.

Verify Design Performance with PADS Best-in-Class Simulation and Analysis

It really isn't important to simulate your PCB design - as long as you don't care about re-spins, signal integrity, cost... OK, actually, there are many good reasons to simulate your board. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Jim Martens of Mentor Graphics about simulating your board design using PADS. It may make you re-think your board design strategy.

How to Design a Sigma Delta Mixer Circuit

In parts 1 & 2 of this 3-part Chalk Talk series, we talked about how Triad Semiconductor can save you 75%, or even as much as 99% in your next mixed-signal ASIC design. But, what good is savings if you don't know what you can design with it? In this third episode of our 3-part Chalk Talk series, Amelia and Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor have fun taking ViaDesigner out for a spin - designing a sigma delta mixer.

Rigid-Flex and Embedded Components

These days, flexibile circuit boards are making their way into the mainstream. Rigid-flex design gives us all kinds of new capabilities in form factor, as well as the opportunity to replace expensive and unreliable cables and connectors. But, how do you handle rigid-flex PCB design in your layout tools? In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Altium's Ben Jordan about rigid-flex design in Altium Designer - and how you can use those same capabilities for embedded components as a bonus!

FPGA Product Support and EOL as Past Performance Indicators

This white paper presents the factors that lead to product obsolescence decisions made by FPGA vendors and how you can use this knowledge to craft obsolescence risk mitigation plans. This paper also introduces the idea of exercising Past Performance Assessments of FPGA vendors as both a risk and cost factor in making FPGA selection in military system design.

Market-Specific Custom IC Solutions

When it comes to custom IC design, one size most definitely does not fit all. Different applications call for specialized IP, tools, and even semiconductor processes. But, sorting through the options can be a daunting process. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Pavel Klinger from GLOBALFOUNDRIES about market-specific solutions that can get your product to market faster and with lower risk than ever.

Routing Interfaces Quickly & Efficiently on PCBs

In today's PCB designs, interfaces such as DDR pose major challenges for layout. Issues like timing and signal integrity can be tricky for even the most experienced designer. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems about routing those tricky bits using a combination of automatic and manual routing techniques.

Scripted Flows in Vivado Design Suite

When you're using a new tool for the first time, a good GUI is great to have, but once you're up and running and automating a complex design process, scripted flows offer a much more powerful means of controlling your tools. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Ron Plyler of Xilinx explore scripted flows in the Vivado design suite.

Developing Clean Efficient Power with LLC Resonant Converters with Infineon

Ready to get your black belt in DC power conversion? In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Sam Abdel-Rahman of Infineon about how to make a versatile, high-efficiency, LLC resonant mode power converter. So, buckle up, hit play, and get your DC on!

Cadence Tempus Timing Signoff Solution

Achieving timing closure for signoff can be a daunting challenge in today's complex designs. Meeting timing under all conditions - with the certainty required for signoff - is a complex and demanding task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Ruben Molina of Cadence Design Systems about the special challenges of signoff timing closure, and Cadence's new Tempus timing analysis tool.

Low-Power Estimation & Verification With ZeBu

Power consumption is one of the key drivers in system design today, and it’s about time we had a way to estimate and verify the power used by our design. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Lauro Rizzatti (Synopsys) about how to verify and estimate power consumption with the ZeBu emulator.

It's the Software, Silly! - Success with FPGA-based Prototyping

Software is becoming a larger and larger part of our system-on-chip (SoC) designs. It is critical that we be able to begin developing and debugging software as early as possible in the design cycle. But, the hardware part of today's complex designs takes months to stabilize. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks with Juergen Jaeger of Cadence about the tight relationship between software and emulation and how you can achieve success in your SoC design with a comprehensive emulation strategy.

DO-254 Requirements Traceability with Spec-TRACER

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Louie de Luna about Aldec's new Spec-TRACER tool and how Spec-TRACER helps you navigate your way through your design flow - from beginning to end, from requirements to verification.

chalk talks

The Power of Tcl in PlanAhead

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Tori Darien from Xilinx about using Tcl in Xilinx’s PlanAhead tool for FPGA design. Amelia throws her some examples, and Tori walks us through how to work them using PlanAhead’s Tcl interface.

Cadence Tempus Timing Signoff Solution

Achieving timing closure for signoff can be a daunting challenge in today's complex designs. Meeting timing under all conditions - with the certainty required for signoff - is a complex and demanding task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Ruben Molina of Cadence Design Systems about the special challenges of signoff timing closure, and Cadence's new Tempus timing analysis tool.

Verification Methodologies (Made Easy)

Most FPGA designers don’t know much about formal methodologies for verification. It’s too bad, because today’s complicated FPGA designs can really take advantage of standardized methodologies like UVM. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia and Jerry Kaczynski (Aldec) are going to unscramble the anagrams and get you on your way to understanding and harnessing the power of universal verification methodologies - so you can start applying them to your next design.

Routing Interfaces Quickly & Efficiently on PCBs

In today's PCB designs, interfaces such as DDR pose major challenges for layout. Issues like timing and signal integrity can be tricky for even the most experienced designer. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems about routing those tricky bits using a combination of automatic and manual routing techniques.

World's Smallest FPGAs Solve 4 Big Problems

In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia chats with Gordon Hands (Lattice Semiconductor) about some awesomely tiny FPGAs that bring the power of programmable logic into devices like cell phones, tablets, and other power and form factor sensitive applications.

Hardware/Software Co-Verification of ARM Processor-Based Designs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Lauro Rizzatti of EvE about the latest in emulation technology and explains how you can use emulation to dramatically accelerate software development, which is becoming the most time-consuming part of SoC design.

FPGA Prototyping with the Kintex-7 KC705 Evaluation Kit

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Evan Leal of Xilinx about their new Kintex-7 KC705 Evaluation Kit, all the cool stuff that’s included and how we can use it to speed up our FPGA Prototyping.

Maximize Your Power and Efficiency with PADS Interactive Placement and Routing

For the engineer doing desktop PCB layout, efficiency is important. You don't want to waste precious time fighting with your PCB tool, and you don't want to end up with lousy results because you and your tool weren't getting along. Mentor Graphics PADS provides an efficient, high-productivity interactive placement and routing environment that lets you get great results quickly. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Jim Martens of Mentor Graphics about interactive layout using PADS.

latest papers and content

Understand USB Controllers and Their Performance Specs

In this week's Whiteboard Wednesdays video, Jacek Duda provides an informative overview of USB controllers and the potential performance that can be achieved. He also discusses specs for USB 2.0 and USB 3.X in detail.

Comparing 3D Memory Solutions and Their Market Applications

In this week's Whiteboard Wednesdays video, Scott Jacobson completes his three-part series on the Memory Wall with a discussion on the different 3D memory solutions available today and their market applications. You may recall that in the first segment, Scott examined how CPU performance outstrips memory transfers, and discussed options available to system designers, such as 2D solutions. In the second part of this series, Scott took a closer look at 2D memory solutions like EMMC 5.0, UFS, and DDR4.

How IP Enhances Hosted Virtual Desktops

In this week’s Whiteboard Wednesdays, Charles Qi introduces an emerging new application called Hosted Virtual Desktop, which supports increasingly mobile workers who want to use any smart, connected device to access corporate data resources. Charles goes into detail about how Cadence IP can help expand the application to help businesses make mobile workforces more efficient.

Artix-7 FPGA Transceiver: The Industry's Most Capable Transceiver in a Low-End Device

In this video you’ll see the FPGA industry’s only low end transceiver solution—the Artix-7 FPGA transceiver—that provides auto-adaptive equalization, 2D Eye Scan, and IBIS-AMI simulation models to simplify high speed serial design for cost-sensitive applications.

Xilinx Broadest Cost Effective All Programmable Low-end Portfolio

This generation of all programmable, cost-sensitive applications has reached new levels of sophistication and diversity of requirements. Low cost systems in the consumer, automotive, industrial, medical, and communications space may need a programmable logic device with high serial bandwidth, or for advanced processing, or may simply need bridging functionality and little else. Commonly termed the “low-end” market due to the devices’ relatively low cost and density, these platforms provide varying levels of system integration, performance, and power. They may perform critical tasks such as video analytics or packet processing, or simply expand a system’s I/O connectivity to peripheral devices.

New Approaches to Hardware Acceleration Using Ultra Low Density FPGAs

Ask system designers to list the problems they face – it doesn’t matter whether they’re building mobile consumer, automotive, industrial, medical or scientific applications – and inevitably they’ll mention optimizing host processor performance. It’s hardly surprising. The event-driven architecture of these MPUs allows them to multitask and address new priorities as they occur. But as the number of I/O continues to rise, it also places escalating demand on bandwidth. Tasked with managing a wider array of I/O as well as other system-wide command and control functions, today’s host MPUs must remain operational for longer periods of time, thereby consuming precious power and compute resources.

Using Low Cost, non-volatile PLDs in System Applications

The system market is comprised of applications in telecom infrastructure, computing, high end industrial and high end medical. Power supply sequencing, voltage and current monitoring, bus bridging, voltage level translation, interface control, and temperature measurement are typical board functions found in these applications. System designers are faced with continual pressure to meet their development schedules, and need to implement designs with minimal effort and risk while maintaining maximum flexibility. By using a programmable-based approach instead of several discrete devices or Application Specific Standard Products (ASSPs), designers can accelerate their time-to- market, address system cost and space reduction, and ensure a high level of product differentiation.

Scripted Flows in Vivado Design Suite

When you're using a new tool for the first time, a good GUI is great to have, but once you're up and running and automating a complex design process, scripted flows offer a much more powerful means of controlling your tools. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Ron Plyler of Xilinx explore scripted flows in the Vivado design suite.

Intelligently Expanding Microprocessor Connectivity Using Low-cost FPGAs

Whether they be CPUs, microprocessors or microcontrollers, microprocessors are an indispensable component in modern electronic system design. However, as systems become more complex and host a wider array of features and user interfaces, system architects using mid-range microprocessors in particular typically face three key challenges connecting the microprocessor, or microprocessors, they are using to the rest of their system: implementing more than 150 general purpose I/Os (GPIO), finding cost effective solutions in the 100 to 150 GPIO range, and matching available I/O peripherals with system needs. These challenges can easily be overcome with the use of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), which over the past 10 years have seen a significant reduction in cost and power consumption, making them ideal for a wide range of high- volume, low-cost applications including mobile.

Security Aspects of Lattice Semiconductor iCE40 Mobile FPGA Devices

Product piracy is of strong concern to major companies around the world. R&D costs are very high for leading companies. Therefore, companies plan to recoup these R&D costs by sale of their proprietary products. If pirates are able to steal or copy the final design, or countermand the security systems of these proprietary products, the market will become flooded with low cost alternatives. As a final consequence, major companies will find themselves unable to recover their high development costs, and will lose valuable profits.

Vivado IP Integrator - Tech Packet

Even the best "plug and play" IP blocks are far from fool-proof. One of the most challenging aspects of IP-based design can be getting the blocks stitched together properly, making sure you have the right version of all the IP blocks, and confirming the configuration of your whole design.

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Smarter Solutions for Wireless Networks

Chief DSP Architect—Chris Dick—Describes some of the biggest challenges facing the mobile industry today and how customers address it with Xilinx's All Programmable devices.

Faster Simulation, Faster Builds at Freescale with Palladium XP Platform

Freescale wanted to augment its simulation process for longer running test cases, enable its software teams, and have performance validation (for latency, bandwidth, and throughput) in place. Watch this video to hear Paresh Joshi, a principal staff design engineer at the company, explain how the Cadence® Palladium® XP platform met all of these requirements while helping Freescale speed its simulation process and achieve faster builds.

Preparing for Google TV

Google and partners recently announced Google TV—an open, architecture-neutral platform that will bring the full web experience to television viewing. Given the fact that MIPS licensees lead in the digital home today, it is likely that there will be a large number of future Google TV systems based on the MIPS architecture. Leveraging our work with Android and our ongoing relationship with Google, MIPS is in an excellent position to work with our licensees as Google TV moves beyond initial reference platforms and into mainstream development within the digital home market. By designing your SoC to the right specifications now, you can be ahead of the market when the Google TV code is available in open source in 2011. In this paper, we will provide you with an in-depth description of hardware requirements and recommendations for developing an SoC that will support the Google TV operating system!

Integrating High-Level Synthesis Designs into SoCs with Less Effort and Risk

High-Level Synthesis (HLS) has many benefits for integrated circuit design but also introduces challenges for integration into SoCs. This paper proposes solutions that improve HLS system integration by eliminating manual interface specification, reducing debug and allow system integration and verification tasks to be performed earlier. By enabling an HLS to SoC flow from a model-based design environment, these methods increase productivity and eliminate manual effort, errors and risk.

System-Level Debugging and Monitoring of FPGA Designs

This white paper describes the latest state-of-the-art methods for debugging and monitoring large FPGA designs both during the simulation phase of development and after device configuration, and details the current practices that Altera has identified across a representative number of customer designs.

Plug & Play Signal Integrity for High-Performance FPGAs with Transceivers

Watch this demo video to see how Stratix® II GX FPGAs give you the ability to change the position of backplane cards on the fly with total preservation of signal integrity. With Plug & Play Signal Integrity, Stratix II GX FPGAs eliminate the painstaking process of manually reconfiguring your backplane equalization.

Next Generation System Design – Platforms versus Tool-Chains

This paper will enumerate the benefits of a platform-based system design approach. The original electronic design process built by linking tools together has remained largely unchanged for decades (i.e. tool-chains). A layered platform architecture unifies PCB, FPGA and embedded software development into one application. At the foundation is a unified data model that enables numerous data management benefits including versioning and ECO management. Companies switching to a platform based design process are doubling their productivity as compared to traditional tool-chains.

Addressing the "Power-Aware" Challenges of Memory Interface Designs

One of the toughest challenges in designing memory interfaces is accurately measuring timing while also considering fluctuations in power and ground rails due to simultaneously switching signals. Signal integrity (SI) engineers are increasingly insisting on “power-aware” SI analysis, where the effects of signal and non-ideal power/ground are considered when analyzing high-speed memory interfaces. This paper assesses how modern tools can be used to address power-aware SI challenges associated with I/O modeling, interconnect modeling, simulation, and analysis.

Achieving 1-TFLOPS Performance with 28nm FPGAs (WEBCAST)

Is 1 TFLOPS possible on a single FPGA? At 28 nm, Altera’s Stratix V FPGA, with its unique variable-precision digital signal processing (DSP) architecture, is equipped to deliver this performance level. This architecture combines the implementation efficiency of common DSP functions such as fast Fourier transforms (FFTs) and finite impulse response (FIR) with the best support for higher precision and floating-point signal processing.

Xilinx UltraScale: The Next-Generation Architecture for Your Next-Generation Architecture

UltraScale ™ architecture-based FPGAs extend Xilinx’s highly successful Virtex® and Kintex® FPGA and 3D IC families and enable massive data flow, system performance and lower power. To learn how the UltraScale architecture addresses key design challenges by applying leading-edge ASIC techniques in a fully programmable architecture, read the whitepaper.

Virtex-6 FPGA Routing Optimization Design Techniques

With the ever-increasing need for high bandwidth, system designers continue to increase resource utilization when designing with Virtex®-6 devices. This can sometimes lead to routing challenges and congestion that can impact design closure. This white paper provides recommendations to help customers mitigate routing challenges in their Virtex-6 FPGA designs.

Intelligently Expanding Microprocessor Connectivity Using Low-cost FPGAs

Whether they be CPUs, microprocessors or microcontrollers, microprocessors are an indispensable component in modern electronic system design. However, as systems become more complex and host a wider array of features and user interfaces, system architects using mid-range microprocessors in particular typically face three key challenges connecting the microprocessor, or microprocessors, they are using to the rest of their system: implementing more than 150 general purpose I/Os (GPIO), finding cost effective solutions in the 100 to 150 GPIO range, and matching available I/O peripherals with system needs. These challenges can easily be overcome with the use of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), which over the past 10 years have seen a significant reduction in cost and power consumption, making them ideal for a wide range of high- volume, low-cost applications including mobile.

Fulfilling Technology Needs for 40G–100G Network-Centric Operations and Warfare

The development and deployment of network-centric operations and warfare (NCOW) to integrate and connect the military’s many separate networks relies on high-speed packet transport and optical networking. Altera’s 28-nm Stratix® V FPGAs combine the flexibility needed to adapt to changing network standards and support legacy network interfaces and protocols, while offering the ASIC-like performance traditionally required for these applications. This unprecedented combination of technological advances enables advanced network developers to implement and deploy military capabilities in a secure and flexible manner while dramatically reducing NRE and critical time to mission.

Implementing Efficient Low-Power PCIe Interfaces with Low-Cost FPGAs

A history of architectural and process advancements has enabled Altera® Cyclone® V FPGAs to be used in numerous low-cost and low-power applications in the industrial, automotive, military, communication and consumer markets, among others. This white paper outlines a real-life PCI Express® (PCIe®) Gen1x4 reference design including a DDR3 memory controller. It shows just how effective Cyclone V FPGAs are in minimizing total system cost while achieving performance and power targets.

Smarter Solutions for Data Centers

Cloud computing for our smartphones, tablets and laptops is underpinned by data centers distributed around the world that manage and process data at high speed. Xilinx Distinguished Engineer, Dr. Gordon Brebner, discusses the challenges of dealing with the volume, velocity and variety of big data, and how Xilinx FPGAs contribute to making the networking, storage, and compute nodes within the data center flexible and fast enough through adding programmable smartness at hardware speeds, while also reducing latency and power consumption. Watch the video to learn more.

Actel SmartFusion: Intelligent, Innovative Integration

Actel SmartFusion™ Intelligent Mixed Signal FPGAs – Innovative, Intelligent, Integration. Introducing the only device that integrates a flash FPGA, hard ARM® Cortex™-M3-based microcontroller subsystem (MSS) and programmable analog into a complete, integrated solution. Don’t compromise your embedded design. Build the system you want, with all the features you need, on a single-chip solution. Read the White Paper to learn more.

Inside the Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC ZC706 Evaluation Kit

Watch as we take a look inside the Zynq®-7000 AP SoC ZC706 Evaluation Kit, a transceiver based kit all the necessary hardware, tools and IP to quickly work through your evaluation and development of a transceiver based embedded system. The board gives you access to 16 GTX transceivers running at 6.6 Gb/x on the FMC connector, and the PCIe gen2x4 edge connector fingers.

A Review of BCDlite

GLOBALFOUNDRIES offers BCDliteTM foundry technology optimized for applications such as power management devices, audio amplifiers, displays and LED driver integrated circuits (ICs).


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