Wish List - Hardware:FPGA

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AT91CAP9S500A (ARM9 + FPGA-port)

Why FPGA?:

Take a look at this microcontroller, that integrates an ARM9 microcontroller and a dedicated FPGA port: AT91CAP9S500A. It has "only" a max. clock at 200MHz, but can use a FPGA for hardware acceleration, that could be used for video (de)compression, aacPlus v2/HE-AAC v2 sound (de)compression and many other things. HE-AAC v2 is better than MP3.

  • AT91CAP9S500A Quote: "...The AT91CAP9S500A is built around a 12-layer bus matrix, allowing a maximum internal bandwidth of twelve 32-bit buses. Its distributed DMA architecture enables multiple data transfers to take place between the processor, memories and peripherals with minimal processor overhead...".
  • GNU-Based Software Development on AT91SAM Microcontrollers
  • Maybe this is a good tool?:
  • 02/05/2007, FPGA tool bottleneck stalls HPC Quote: "...Current FPGA synthesis, placement and routing tools are written for hardware designers, not software programmers simply trying to accelerate an algorithm..."

This seems to be a good hardware mix (ARM+FPGA). It does Ogg Theora or MJPEG in the FPGA with 1 million gates:

Just another FPGA+microcontroller example:

I do not think this means what you think it means... I read "...and a metal programmable (MP) block of 500K gates of digital logic." as meaning that it's a one-time programmable block, more akin to a standard-cell ASIC than an FPGA. This is supported by the fact that their development board contains a separate FPGA chip. Now, granted, having a 500K gate ASIC on board an ARM is a cool thing... but not quite as cool as this chip appeared at first glance.

Possible FPGA

This FPGA is just an example:

  • Spartan-3AN FPGA Capabilities Quote: "...Simple and secure embedded application storage with up to 11Mb of integrated user Flash...Enable simple arithmetic and math functions as well as advanced DSP functions to derive over 330 Giga MACs/sec...Up to 32 18 x 18 embedded multipliers support 18-bit signed or 17-bit unsigned multiplication, and can be cascaded to support wider bits..."
    • XC3S1400AN-4FGG676CES $91
    • XC3S200AN-4FTG256CES $25.87
  • It might be better to introduce a flash based FPGA e.g. one of the igloo series produced by actel, they claim to save a real amount of power. They are available for 20$ for one piece, claimed around 1$ in mass. One also saves PCB space, because no external flash is needed, although the above mentioned Spartan series has also integrated configuration flash, but that is non-standard for SRAM based FPGAs so far. The igloo devices do not have dsp slices, also the amount of RAM is smaller.

Tool for FPGAs

Asynchronous FPGA, AFPGA

Personal tools

AT91CAP9S500A (ARM9 + FPGA-port)

Why FPGA?:

Take a look at this microcontroller, that integrates an ARM9 microcontroller and a dedicated FPGA port: AT91CAP9S500A. It has "only" a max. clock at 200MHz, but can use a FPGA for hardware acceleration, that could be used for video (de)compression, aacPlus v2/HE-AAC v2 sound (de)compression and many other things. HE-AAC v2 is better than MP3.

  • AT91CAP9S500A Quote: "...The AT91CAP9S500A is built around a 12-layer bus matrix, allowing a maximum internal bandwidth of twelve 32-bit buses. Its distributed DMA architecture enables multiple data transfers to take place between the processor, memories and peripherals with minimal processor overhead...".
  • GNU-Based Software Development on AT91SAM Microcontrollers
  • Maybe this is a good tool?:
  • 02/05/2007, FPGA tool bottleneck stalls HPC Quote: "...Current FPGA synthesis, placement and routing tools are written for hardware designers, not software programmers simply trying to accelerate an algorithm..."

This seems to be a good hardware mix (ARM+FPGA). It does Ogg Theora or MJPEG in the FPGA with 1 million gates:

Just another FPGA+microcontroller example:

I do not think this means what you think it means... I read "...and a metal programmable (MP) block of 500K gates of digital logic." as meaning that it's a one-time programmable block, more akin to a standard-cell ASIC than an FPGA. This is supported by the fact that their development board contains a separate FPGA chip. Now, granted, having a 500K gate ASIC on board an ARM is a cool thing... but not quite as cool as this chip appeared at first glance.

Possible FPGA

This FPGA is just an example:

  • Spartan-3AN FPGA Capabilities Quote: "...Simple and secure embedded application storage with up to 11Mb of integrated user Flash...Enable simple arithmetic and math functions as well as advanced DSP functions to derive over 330 Giga MACs/sec...Up to 32 18 x 18 embedded multipliers support 18-bit signed or 17-bit unsigned multiplication, and can be cascaded to support wider bits..."
    • XC3S1400AN-4FGG676CES $91
    • XC3S200AN-4FTG256CES $25.87
  • It might be better to introduce a flash based FPGA e.g. one of the igloo series produced by actel, they claim to save a real amount of power. They are available for 20$ for one piece, claimed around 1$ in mass. One also saves PCB space, because no external flash is needed, although the above mentioned Spartan series has also integrated configuration flash, but that is non-standard for SRAM based FPGAs so far. The igloo devices do not have dsp slices, also the amount of RAM is smaller.

Tool for FPGAs

Asynchronous FPGA, AFPGA