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advice needed for FPGA chip selection

Started by Manusha April 26, 2011
Hello,

I am working on a project which involve interfacing with Ethernet,
USB, SATA and couple of other chips (mostly high performance audio/
video decoders and HDMI transmitters). In addition, the system needs
enough computing resources for audio/video processing. (either through
dedicated H/W realized in the FPGA or through software). My plan is to
have a resourceful FPGA and have a softprocessor (like OpenRisc) on it
for controlling purposes and use the rest of the resources for
Ethernet/USB and other ipcores (Ex:I2C) and probably for H/W
realizations needed for audio/video processing. As i have not worked
on a H/W project of this scale, i thought of taking some advice from
more experienced engineers on this.

Assuming that i also want to reduce the cost as much as possible, what
Xilinx FPGA device family would be the rational choice here?
Would a vertex device with an embedded PowerPC processor be a rational
choice? Will there be any royalties involved in using the power PC and
EDK/Platform Studio in this situation?

Thank you.

Forgot to mention that the Linux need to be run on top of the
processor (softprocessor or PowerPC).

On Apr 26, 1:19=A0am, Manusha <manusha1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello, > > I am working on a project which involve interfacing with Ethernet, > USB, SATA and couple of other chips (mostly high performance audio/ > video decoders and HDMI transmitters). In addition, the system needs > enough computing resources for audio/video processing. (either through > dedicated H/W realized in the FPGA or through software). My plan is to > have a resourceful FPGA and have a softprocessor (like OpenRisc) on it > for controlling purposes and use the rest of the resources for > Ethernet/USB and other ipcores (Ex:I2C) and probably for H/W > realizations needed for audio/video processing. As i have not worked > on a H/W project of this scale, i thought of taking some advice from > more experienced engineers on this. > > Assuming that i also want to reduce the cost as much as possible, what > Xilinx FPGA device family would be the rational choice here? > Would a vertex device with an embedded PowerPC processor be a rational > choice? Will there be any royalties involved in using the power PC and > EDK/Platform Studio in this situation? > > Thank you.
It sounds to me like something like a Texas Instruments DM8168 would be a better fit.
Manusha <manusha1980@gmail.com> wrote:

>Hello, > >I am working on a project which involve interfacing with Ethernet, >USB, SATA and couple of other chips (mostly high performance audio/ >video decoders and HDMI transmitters). In addition, the system needs >enough computing resources for audio/video processing. (either through >dedicated H/W realized in the FPGA or through software). My plan is to >have a resourceful FPGA and have a softprocessor (like OpenRisc) on it >for controlling purposes and use the rest of the resources for >Ethernet/USB and other ipcores (Ex:I2C) and probably for H/W >realizations needed for audio/video processing. As i have not worked >on a H/W project of this scale, i thought of taking some advice from >more experienced engineers on this.
I'd look into a Cortex device like Freescale's IMX51, Samsung's S5PV2xx or TI's omap (or whatever they call it these days) first. A major problem with TI's Cortex solutions is that they have no power solution in a chip which is routable (unless you want to route traces 60um wide). -- Failure does not prove something is impossible, failure simply indicates you are not using the right tools... nico@nctdevpuntnl (punt=.) --------------------------------------------------------------
On Apr 26, 2:19=A0am, Manusha <manusha1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ethernet, USB, SATA .. audio/video decoders.. HDMI transmitters > ... > Assuming that i also want to reduce the cost as much as possible, what > Xilinx FPGA device family would be the rational choice here?
Always consider "the right tool for the job". A chip that is specifically designed for a job is a magnitude more (cost-, power-, and else) efficient at it, compared to a different chip that is not. Using a FPGA gives you flexibility and sometimes an edge on time-to- market, but it does not escape this basic rule. An FPGA is reasonable for everything, and excels at nothing. Reading your list of requirements, I recommend you look into the chips/ chipsets from ultraportables to laptops. Everything above a modern smartphone SoC offers the power you ask for, and if you renounce SATA then even the smartphone SoC is good. Best regards Marc
I would not use a Virtex if you design is cost sensitive unless it is
simply a one off. In that case it is a design effort versus material
cost question.

On processors the PowerPC in Virtex is a bit of a dead end. It isn't
appearing in Virtex-6 as far as I know and ARM appears in the next
generation. No royalities for the embedded PowerPC but you do pay in
other ways for this feature. MicroBlaze, and equivalents, are fairly
good processors especially when you can add FPGA hardware acceleration
features to increase performance.

Interfaces like USB, Ethernet and SATA are often better in external
chips for cost as we have done in our Hollybush2
http://enterpoint.co.uk/oem_industrial/hollybush2.html, Drigmorn3
http://enterpoint.co.uk/drigmorn/drigmorn3.html and Drigmorn4
http://enterpoint.co.uk/drigmorn/drigmorn4.html boards but it is not
always such a  simple decision.

On our Raggedstone2 development board http://enterpoint.co.uk/raggedstone/r=
aggedstone2.html
we added SATA connectors to the product simply to use spare high speed
transceivers that were left over after we used 1 lane for our PCIe
interface. The Spartan-6 LXT FPGA that is on that product can natively
support SATA signalling over these high speed signal interfaces.
Adding a controller core from an IP vendor can then be worthwhile when
you have already paid for the high speed interface capability. All of
this does highly depend on numbers that you end up making the product
in.

John Adair
Enterpoint Ltd.

On Apr 26, 7:19=A0am, Manusha <manusha1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello, > > I am working on a project which involve interfacing with Ethernet, > USB, SATA and couple of other chips (mostly high performance audio/ > video decoders and HDMI transmitters). In addition, the system needs > enough computing resources for audio/video processing. (either through > dedicated H/W realized in the FPGA or through software). My plan is to > have a resourceful FPGA and have a softprocessor (like OpenRisc) on it > for controlling purposes and use the rest of the resources for > Ethernet/USB and other ipcores (Ex:I2C) and probably for H/W > realizations needed for audio/video processing. As i have not worked > on a H/W project of this scale, i thought of taking some advice from > more experienced engineers on this. > > Assuming that i also want to reduce the cost as much as possible, what > Xilinx FPGA device family would be the rational choice here? > Would a vertex device with an embedded PowerPC processor be a rational > choice? Will there be any royalties involved in using the power PC and > EDK/Platform Studio in this situation? > > Thank you.
Thanks all for the valuable advices.

It seems like there are good alternatives to a vertex/powerPC based
system.

@AMDyer: I am pretty impressed with the TI Davinci DSP's. Did not go
to details, but seems like it has pretty much i am looking for. I will
evaluate this option seriously.

@John: I agree, The vertex devices cost pretty much. For example, the
one i am planning to use costs around $120 and it has a powerPC core.
But my question is, are there any alternatives at a lesser cost? Would
a low cost device give me the computing power i need? (I am sure i
need significant amount of computing power for real time video
processing).

@Marc: Any suggestions where to look for such chips?


/M
Manusha <manusha1980@gmail.com> wrote:

>Thanks all for the valuable advices. > >It seems like there are good alternatives to a vertex/powerPC based >system. > >@AMDyer: I am pretty impressed with the TI Davinci DSP's. Did not go >to details, but seems like it has pretty much i am looking for. I will >evaluate this option seriously. > >@John: I agree, The vertex devices cost pretty much. For example, the >one i am planning to use costs around $120 and it has a powerPC core. >But my question is, are there any alternatives at a lesser cost? Would >a low cost device give me the computing power i need? (I am sure i >need significant amount of computing power for real time video >processing).
If you don't specify what kind of processing you want (algorithm, resolution, frame rate, etc), it is impossible to tell what you would need. -- Failure does not prove something is impossible, failure simply indicates you are not using the right tools... nico@nctdevpuntnl (punt=.) --------------------------------------------------------------