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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2007, 04:03 PM
MMJ
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Default Capability of a FPGA device.

Hi,

For a future project we are considering the use of FPGA technology and IP
cores instead of using an ASSP solution.
As a software guy...only doing some initial invistigations I have absolutely
no specific idea of how much functionality you can expect to implement into
a FPGA device in the pricerange of maximum 100$.

Some of the basic functionality we need is:

- Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
- Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
- x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
- n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
- Interal switch matrix of some sort.

How much of this should we (hypothetical speaking) be able to implement in a
single device in the mentioned pricerange? Offcourse I don't expect an exact
answer to this question since everything depends on how each function is
realized. But a "This might be possible" or "Not in this world" answer with
some pointers would be very nice. Hope this is not to stupid a question.

Best Regards

--
MMJ


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2007, 04:22 PM
Antti
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Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

On 31 Okt., 16:03, "MMJ" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> For a future project we are considering the use of FPGA technology and IP
> cores instead of using an ASSP solution.
> As a software guy...only doing some initial invistigations I have absolutely
> no specific idea of how much functionality you can expect to implement into
> a FPGA device in the pricerange of maximum 100$.
>
> Some of the basic functionality we need is:
>
> - Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
> - Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
> - x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
> - n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
> - Interal switch matrix of some sort.
>
> How much of this should we (hypothetical speaking) be able to implement in a
> single device in the mentioned pricerange? Offcourse I don't expect an exact
> answer to this question since everything depends on how each function is
> realized. But a "This might be possible" or "Not in this world" answer with
> some pointers would be very nice. Hope this is not to stupid a question.
>
> Best Regards
>
> --
> MMJ


attempt to use ARM9 soft ip in FPGA below 100$ is bad idea, depending
on your yearly volume maybe it could be possible to fit the CPU itself
but not much more, and performance would be very bad anyway.

if you dream adding ARM9 + something else + n>0 video decoders into
sub 100$ FPGA hm you need wait a few years... or some more years for
35nm FPGA's

so you need really re-thing what parts of the system you want into the
FPGA and what not

Antti





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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2007, 06:12 PM
John_H
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

"MMJ" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected] ...
> Hi,
>
> For a future project we are considering the use of FPGA technology and IP
> cores instead of using an ASSP solution.
> As a software guy...only doing some initial invistigations I have
> absolutely no specific idea of how much functionality you can expect to
> implement into a FPGA device in the pricerange of maximum 100$.
>
> Some of the basic functionality we need is:
>
> - Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
> - Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
> - x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
> - n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
> - Interal switch matrix of some sort.
>
> How much of this should we (hypothetical speaking) be able to implement in
> a single device in the mentioned pricerange? Offcourse I don't expect an
> exact answer to this question since everything depends on how each
> function is realized. But a "This might be possible" or "Not in this
> world" answer with some pointers would be very nice. Hope this is not to
> stupid a question.
>
> Best Regards
>
> --
> MMJ


You can go into the families that have the PPC 405 style core embedded as a
hard core. I typically work in the lower cost families that don't include
the PPC core (designed for cost, not for sheer performance) and I've never
dreamed of using something more than $40 in production. Your cost will
depend greatly on volume. DDR2 memory interfaces are available and are
implemented as separate logic, not built-in, but cores are available.
Please check the FPGA vendor website for supported speed. If you want to go
the PPC hard core route, look at www.xilinx.com for the memory interfaces
they have characterized. If you just need general 32-bit soft cores with
good tool support, the mico-32 at www.latticesemi.com can get you into the
ECP2M parts with exceedingly good memory to logic ratios or the NIOS-2 from
www.altera.com can provide a nice controller as well. Xilinx has the
MicroBlaze soft core if you want to stay in the lower-cost
Spartan-3/3A/3E/3DSP series of parts. The speeds are around 100 MHz in the
soft cores (from what I understand, not from experience) for these lower
cost devices. You can get several hundered total I/O in some devices.
Video coders are typically a mix of hardware and software depending on your
performance needs. If you have to have full-speed H.264 encoding, you'll
have much more logic dedicated to acceleration. Again, check the FPGA
vendor sites for cores available from 3rd party IP developers that support
video decoding for ideas on size and performance offerings already out
there. The logic and routing is almost infinitely variable from design to
design. If you want to dynamically swich signals, it's a simple matter of
using multiplexers that you design in.

If you're looking instead for plug&play style designs, FPGAs might not be
for you. Check out the FPOA from www.mathstar.com (a device I haven't
considered for my own uses) to understand what their ALU/MAC/RegisterFile
arrays can do for applications that may be closer to your needs. FPOAs are
not necessarily good for general logic, but if your goal is to have
massively parallel video decoders, this could far outstrip an FPGA.

Feel free to follow up with more specific questions after looking over the
sites.

- John_H


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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2007, 09:35 PM
Jim Granville
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

MMJ wrote:

> Hi,
>
> For a future project we are considering the use of FPGA technology and IP
> cores instead of using an ASSP solution.
> As a software guy...only doing some initial invistigations I have absolutely
> no specific idea of how much functionality you can expect to implement into
> a FPGA device in the pricerange of maximum 100$.
>
> Some of the basic functionality we need is:
>
> - Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
> - Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
> - x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
> - n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
> - Interal switch matrix of some sort.
>
> How much of this should we (hypothetical speaking) be able to implement in a
> single device in the mentioned pricerange? Offcourse I don't expect an exact
> answer to this question since everything depends on how each function is
> realized. But a "This might be possible" or "Not in this world" answer with
> some pointers would be very nice. Hope this is not to stupid a question.


You should also look at the CODE and DATA size requirements, and the
DATA bandwidths needed.

Also realise that the 'single chip' is rather a myth, you will need
the FPGA plus NV config and code storage plus run-time code storage.

Generally, if you can buy merchant silicon, that will always be cheaper
(both in use and R&D costs) than a FPGA solution - it also usually means
you step to a smaller/cheaper FPGA.

For example, if your code/data will fit into a single chip
microcontroller, you can eliminate many EMC issues.

-jg


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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2007, 11:49 PM
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

>
> Some of the basic functionality we need is:
>
> - Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
> - Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
> - x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
> - n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
> - Interal switch matrix of some sort.



Can you share what sort of level of video decoding performance you
would need? Would you need to support multiple video standards at the
same time? What sort of I/O interfaces are needed - is it for the
video and if so what formats? Is the CPU just required to control the
video decoder, or are there other tasks needed?

What you ask is not totally unfeasible depending on your precise
requirements.

Thanks,

Andy.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 11-01-2007, 12:16 PM
MMJ
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

> attempt to use ARM9 soft ip in FPGA below 100$ is bad idea, depending
> on your yearly volume maybe it could be possible to fit the CPU itself
> but not much more, and performance would be very bad anyway.


> if you dream adding ARM9 + something else + n>0 video decoders into
> sub 100$ FPGA hm you need wait a few years... or some more years for
> 35nm FPGA's


> so you need really re-thing what parts of the system you want into the
> FPGA and what not


Thank you for replying!

Ok.....what if I change the softcore ARM9 to something else...like
MicroBlaze and maybe limit the video decoders to 4 ?

--
MMJ



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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 11-01-2007, 12:50 PM
csantos
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

Hi,

why don't you have a look at actel's Igloo family? http://www.actel.com/products/IGLOO/
Recently they added support for the ARM cortex core, with plently of
other interesting capabilities.

csb

On 31 oct, 16:03, "MMJ" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> For a future project we are considering the use of FPGA technology and IP
> cores instead of using an ASSP solution.
> As a software guy...only doing some initial invistigations I have absolutely
> no specific idea of how much functionality you can expect to implement into
> a FPGA device in the pricerange of maximum 100$.
>
> Some of the basic functionality we need is:
>
> - Control CPU (e.g. ARM9).
> - Memory Interface for control CPU and video decoder.
> - x number of I/O interfaces (High speed parrallel).
> - n Video decoders (MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264)
> - Interal switch matrix of some sort.
>
> How much of this should we (hypothetical speaking) be able to implement in a
> single device in the mentioned pricerange? Offcourse I don't expect an exact
> answer to this question since everything depends on how each function is
> realized. But a "This might be possible" or "Not in this world" answer with
> some pointers would be very nice. Hope this is not to stupid a question.
>
> Best Regards
>
> --
> MMJ



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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 11-02-2007, 11:37 AM
MMJ
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.


> why don't you have a look at actel's Igloo family?
> http://www.actel.com/products/IGLOO/
> Recently they added support for the ARM cortex core, with plently of
> other interesting capabilities.


Very interesting.....thanks!


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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 11-14-2007, 11:24 PM
Kris Vorwerk
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Capability of a FPGA device.

On Nov 2, 2:37 am, "MMJ" <[email protected]> wrote:
> > why don't you have a look at actel's Igloo family?
> >http://www.actel.com/products/IGLOO/
> > Recently they added support for the ARM cortex core, with plently of
> > other interesting capabilities.

>
> Very interesting.....thanks!



Given your requirements, you may find that Actel's Fusion products are
more in-line with what you need. (They're generally larger devices
than Igloo, so they usually have a bit more RAM on-chip and more I/
Os. Fusion also comes with some other goodies that you may use, like
a built-in oscillator, ADC/DAC, etc.)


K.

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