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The Exploding Variety of New Interfaces for Mobile SoCs

In this week's Whiteboard Wednesdays, Tom Hackett focuses on the wide variety of new and updated mobile interfaces for mobile SoCs. These interfaces are broken down into three catagories—SoC fabric, memory, and chip-to-chip—and include ARM AMBA 4, ARM AMBA 5, OCP, DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, Wide I/O, Wide I/O2, DRAM, eMMC, eMMC5, UFS, CSI-3, SoundWire, USB, PCIe, and SSIC.

Solving the 100Gbps Challenge with ABAX2

What do you do when plain-old FPGAs leave too much on the table to handle your next bandwidth challenge efficiently? In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Christian Plante (Tabula) about Tabula's new ABAX2 devices - based on their innovative Spacetime architecture. ABAX2 is fabricated on the latest Intel 22nm Tri-Gate technology, and can give you an enormous advantage in your next 100G design.

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.

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.

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.

Building a New Type of IP Factory

Reliable IP blocks are essential to the success of most modern SoC and custom IC designs. But finding a reliable, reputable source of verified IP can be challenging. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks to Kevin Yee (Cadence Design Systems) about Cadence's substantial IP offerings

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

How To Save 99% on Your Next Mixed Signal ASIC Design (part 2 of a 3-part series)

In part 1 of this 3-part series, we talked about how you can save 75% on your next mixed-signal chip design - which was great, but we think we can do better than that. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Reid Wender of Triad Semiconductor about how you can dramatically reduce design costs and complexity even more. In this second epsiode of our 3-part Chalk TalkHD series, Amelia and Reid tell you how to save up to 99% on your design.

It’s Easy to Protect Your Embedded System from Theft

If you have invested years and millions of dollars in the design of an embedded system (and in the creation of the Intellectual Property, or IP, that goes along with the design) it can be of critical importance to protect that system from unauthorized duplication or theft. After all, it’s much easier to steal something as complex as a multi-million gate FPGA design than to create, debug, and test it. The protection of an embedded system that uses FPGAs, is particularly relevant since FPGAs have become the platforms of choice for innovation.

Accelerating System Bandwidth with FPGAs and Hybrid Memory Cube

Move over DDR, the Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) is here! But, from a design perspective, care and feeding of the amazing HMC can be a lot more demanding than DDR. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Manish Deo of Altera explain how powerful FPGAs can help you tame the HMC in your next design.

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.

Industrial Temperature Measurement Solutions

Many industrial designs need data from sensors such as temperature probes. But, getting from the analog world of probe signals to the digital world where the magic happens can be a tedious and tricky process. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton talks with Sean Long of Maxim Integrated about an easy way to connect up sensors such as temperature probes in your next industrial design.

Timing Closure Made Easier with Stylus

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats Andy Caldwell (Tabula) about putting an end to the oppressive reign of timing closure terror. Tabula’s Spacetime architecture - it turns out - besides giving us crazy performance for our high-bandwidth designs - also makes timing closure drop-dead easy.

Advanced Smart Display Solutions

In today's mobile designs, displays are one of the most important components in differentiating your product. As a result, more people are designing high-resolution displays into mobile devices. But, adding a high-res display to your design can be a complex task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia chats with Pavel Klinger (GLOBALFOUNDRIES) about GLOBALFOUNDRIES' solutions for the new generation of high-resolution smartphone displays.

Enabling the Internet of Things: Introducing Atmel SAM D20 Cortex M0+ Family

Your design needs to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), doesn't it? Connecting your device to the rapidly expanding IoT opens up a wide world of potential new capabilities. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Andreas Eieland (Atmel) about some amazing new devices that can dramatically simplify the task of getting your next design into the IoT party.

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.

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.

chalk talks

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 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.

Introducing SmartFusion2 FPGAs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia Dalton chats with Wendy Lockhart of Microsemi about Microsemi's biggest FPGA announcement this year - SmartFusion2. This new family can do things we never expected from Microsemi's non-volatile FPGAs. Watch this Chalk Talk to learn what it's all about.

Advanced Smart Display Solutions

In today's mobile designs, displays are one of the most important components in differentiating your product. As a result, more people are designing high-resolution displays into mobile devices. But, adding a high-res display to your design can be a complex task. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia chats with Pavel Klinger (GLOBALFOUNDRIES) about GLOBALFOUNDRIES' solutions for the new generation of high-resolution smartphone displays.

High Speed Data Acquisition and Software Defined Radio Made Simple

Building a hybrid computing platform from scratch is a huge and complicated project. Luckily, somebody has already done that work for you. In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Justin Braun (4DSP) about how you can use pre-designed platforms to dramatically simplify these complex computing and data acquisition problems.

Spartan-6 FPGAs in Video Designs

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD, Amelia chats with Tom Hill and Maureen Smerdon of Xilinx about how Spartan-6 FPGAs can accelerate your next video design, and how adding embedded vision to those designs is getting easier and easier.

Design @ MachXO2 Speed

Just about every design needs one - that magic, do-anything part that can connect nearly any two things together and can aggregate all those messy, left-over functions on our board. Today's low density PLDs have remarkable capabilities at a tiny cost and power budget. In this episode of Chalk Talk HD Amelia Dalton chats with Steve Hossner (Lattice Semiconductor) about the amazing capabilities of Lattice’s latest low density PLD line, the MachXO2.

Maximize Design Productivity With PCIe/104 FPGA/Processor

In this episode of Chalk TalkHD Amelia chats with Christine Van De Graaf of Kontron, who explain how Kontron is incorporating pre-made, small form factor boards, a high-performance embedded processor programmable logic into their new MSMST board and how we can get started designing with one.

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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FPGAs at 40nm and >10 Gbps: Jitter-, Signal Integrity-, Power-, and Process-Optimized Transceivers (REVISED)

This paper describes key technologies that enable Stratix IV GT FPGAs to deliver the performance and capabilities necessary to support 40G/100G applications with integrated 11.3-Gbps transceivers. These include the LC-based oscillator and decision-feedback equalization (DFE) at 40 nm for ultra-low jitter FPGA transceivers. Furthermore, the transceiver architecture, including clocking and clock data recovery (CDR) technologies, are highlighted, as well as performance validation results.

Supercharging Design Performance and Productivity with Altera FPGAs and Best-in-Class IP

This white paper examines how Altera's optimized and verified intellectual property (IP) blocks can simplify your design, reduce design issues, and shorten time to market. It also explains how Altera's Generation 10 FPGAs enables broad portfolio of complex IP-the broadest portfolio in the industry-to achieve a 50 percent reduction in size while achieving twice the performance of current devices.

SmartFusion2 Modbus Reference Design User Guide

Modbus is a serial communications and application level protocol targeting industrial network communications. The rationale for and specifications related to Modbus are summarized in the Modbus Organization FAQ, in the Modbus organization technical resources page, and in various Modbus tutorials and introductory guides. Microsemi supports the FreeModbus communications stack with these Modbus functions: – Read Input Register – Read Holding Registers – Write Single Register – Write Multiple Registers – Read/Write Multiple Registers – Read Coils – Write Single Coil – Write Multiple Coils – Read Discrete Inputs – Report Slave ID

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.

SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA – Dynamic Configuration of AHB Bus Matrix

SmartFusion®2 system-on-chip (SoC) field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices support advanced high performance bus (AHB) bus as a multi-layer AHB matrix. SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA devices AHB bus matrix has ten masters and seven direct slaves. This application note describes how to configure the weight values dynamically for the AHB bus matrix masters to access the AHB bus matrix slave using the weighted round-robin (WRR) arbitration. This application note also provides a reference design with two fabric masters connected to the FIC_0 and FIC_1 interfaces. The two fabric masters can access a single slave eSRAM1 using the WRR arbitration.

Implementing Next-Generation Passive Optical Network Designs with FPGAs (REVISED)

FPGAs play a key role for early adopters of next-generation passive optical network (PON) systems due to their flexibility to allow development of future proof designs and implementation of unique features to differentiate against competitors versus standard products. Altera® Stratix® V FPGAs’ abundant resources, robust transceivers with native PON burst mode support, and fast external memory interfaces bring an unprecedented level of system integration. Altera further helps to lower system cost and power consumption via its seamless migration path from FPGAs to its HardCopy® series ASICs.

Learn About Easier-to-Use Partial Reconfiguration Flow

Ever wonder whether the challenges of using partial reconfiguration are worth the benefits? Now, there's an easy-to-use, fine-grain partial reconfiguration methodology that delivers lower cost and power and higher system uptime. What's more, you don't need to understand the intricacies of FPGA architecture to get more usable density from your device.

Reducing Switching Power with Intelligent Clock Gating

The intelligent clock-gating optimization feature introduced in ISE Design Suite v12 greatly simplifies the effort to reduce dynamic power in FPGA designs. The traditional approach to clock-gating optimization used in ASIC design presupposes an intimate knowledge of the design, thereby virtually precluding optimization of legacy and third-party IP blocks. New tools, new steps, and complex timing analyses are typically required to compensate for the inevitable new “gated clocks” and the changes in logic that are produced.

A Significant Technology Advancement in High-Speed Link Modeling and Simulation

As high-speed I/O (HSIO) and serial link data rates keep increasing, the requirements for accuracy and advanced simulation and modeling techniques get more stringent. This white paper reviews the techniques used in recent HSIO simulation and modeling, such as statistical behavioral, SPICE, and IBIS-AMI models, outlining the areas where they fall short in comparison with the emerging requirements. This paper also introduces Altera's JNEye transceiver link simulation tool and discusses how the tool enhances HSIO link modeling and simulation. This paper includes simulation and experimental results that demonstrate how the JNEye tool can meet the emerging requirements.

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.

Firm Error Immunity in Flash FPGAs

Radiation effects are not isolated to space electronics only, but they affect all type of electronics whether they are automotive, industrial or military and avionics. What differentiates them is the type of radiation. This webcast shows how FPGA’s interact with them and why Actel FPGAs are the best solution to mitigate these effects.

Support Multiple Industrial Ethernet Protocols With a Single FPGA

Need to support multiple Industrial Ethernet protocols in your factory or process automation system? This 10-minute video features three demos integrating motor control and Industrial Ethernet into a single FPGA. You'll learn how you can easily change protocols on the same FPGA platform and add any Industrial Ethernet communication to existing industrial equipment.

Power Manager Pickle Power

This video is on the lighter side of Lattice. The Power Manager II family of devices integrates common, and some not-so-common, board power management functions into a single chip at half the cost.

World's First 28nm FPGA from Xilinx Shows Key 10Gbps SERDES Functionality

The first-ever 28nm FPGA demonstrates major design functionality within the first 48 hours, including 10Gbps eye quality.

PDN Design and FPGA Transceiver Performance

PDN designs targeting transceiver (SERDES) FPGAs require clean voltage sources with strict voltage rail requirements. This document describes the advantages of modern switching voltage regulators in a power distribution network (PDN) design to achieve the best FPGA transceiver performance. This white paper provides guidance on voltage regulator selection for low-noise applications, and a test case that demonstrates the transceiver performance for different types of voltage regulators and voltage rail configurations.

Designing with SmartFusion Intelligent Mixed Signal FPGAs

Watch this short video introducing the software tools and design flows for implementing SmartFusion™ intelligent mixed signal flash FPGA designs, including devices, hardware kits and ecosystem to get you started.

Solutions for Mixed-Signal IP, IC, and SoC Implementation

Traditional mixed-signal design environments, in which analog and digital parts are implemented separately, are no longer sufficient and lead to excess iteration and prolonged design cycle time. Modern mixed-signal designs require new flows that maximize productivity and facilitate close collaboration among analog and digital designers. This paper outlines mixed-signal implementation challenges and focuses on three advanced, highly integrated flows to meet those challenges.

An Independent Evaluation of Floating-Point DSP Energy Efficiency on Altera 28nm FPGAs

Altera recently introduced a floating-point design flow intended to streamline the process of implementing floating-point DSP algorithms on Altera FPGAs, and to enable those designs to achieve higher performance and resource usage efficiency than previously possible. BDTI performed an independent evaluation of the power consumption and energy efficiency of Altera FPGAs for demanding floating-point DSP applications. This white paper presents BDTI’s findings from this evaluation.


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