Computer/Embedded Technology


PCIe board for wireless applications

29 July 2020 Computer/Embedded Technology

Pentek introduced an addition to the Quartz RFSoC architecture family, the Model 7050, an eight-channel A/D and D/A converter, PCIe double-wide board based on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC. The Model 7050 brings RFSoC performance to PC platforms with a complete system on a board.

The Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC FPGA from Xilinx is the industry’s only single-chip, adaptable radio platform, making it very popular for 5G and LTE wireless, SIGINT and COMINT, EW countermeasures, radar on a chip, test and measurement, satellite communications and LiDAR applications.

The Model 7050 design places the RFSoC as the cornerstone of the architecture. All control and data paths are accessible by the RFSoC’s programmable logic and processing system. A full suite of Pentek developed IP and software functions utilise this architecture to provide data capture, timing and interface solutions for many of the most common application requirements.

The Quartz architecture difference

The Pentek Quartz architecture embodies a streamlined approach to FPGA boards, simplifying the design to reduce power and cost, while still providing some of the highest performance FPGA resources available today. Designed to work with Pentek’s Navigator Design Suite tools, the combination of Quartz and Navigator offers users an efficient path to developing and deploying software and FPGA IP for data and signal processing.

The Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Processor integrates eight RF-class A/D and D/A converters into the Zynq FPGA fabric and quad ARM Cortex-A53 and dual ARM Cortex-R5 processors, creating a multichannel data conversion and processing solution on a single chip.

Complementing the RFSoC’s on-chip resources, the Quartz board architecture adds:

• 16 GB of DDR4 SDRAM.

• Sophisticated clocking for single-board and multi-board synchronisation.

• High signal integrity connectors for RF inputs and outputs.

• x8 PCIe Gen 3 interface.

• An 8 lane, 28 Gbps optical interface with industry standard MPO connectors for supporting gigabit serial protocols.

• 12 LVDS general purpose I/O pairs for specialised interfaces.

• On-board GPS receiver.

• Speeds development and deployment for QuartzXM eXpress module designs.

• Factory-installed application IP.

Factory installed IP advances development

The Model 7050 is pre-loaded with a suite of Pentek IP modules to provide data capture and processing solutions for many common applications. Modules include DMA engines, DDR4 memory controllers, test signal and metadata generators, data packing and flow control.

The board comes pre-installed with IP for triggered radar chirp generator, triggered radar range gate engine, wideband real-time transient capture, flexible multi-mode data acquisition and extended decimation. The Model 7050 can be used out-of-the-box with the built-in functions requiring no FPGA development.

Data conversion

The front end accepts analog IF or RF inputs on eight panel-mounted MMCX connectors with transformer coupling to eight 4 GSps 12-bit A/D converters delivering either real or complex DDC samples. With additional IP-based decimation filters, the overall DDC decimation is programmable from 2 to 128. The eight D/A converters accept baseband real or complex data streams from the FPGA’s programmable logic. Each 6,4 GSps 14-bit D/A includes a digital up-converter with independent tuning and interpolations of 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x. Each D/A output is transformer-coupled to an MMCX connector.

Navigator design suite for streamlined IP development

Pentek's Navigator Design Suite includes Navigator FDK (FPGA design kit) for custom IP and Navigator BSP (board support package) for creating host software applications.

The Navigator FDK includes the board’s entire FPGA design as a block diagram that can be graphically edited in Xilinx's Vivado tool suite, with full source code and complete documentation included. Developers can integrate their IP along with the factory-installed functions or use the Navigator kit to replace the IP with their own. The Navigator FDK Library is AXI-4 compliant, providing a well-defined interface for developing custom IP or integrating IP from other sources.

The Navigator BSP supports Xilinx’s PetaLinux on ARM processors. Users work efficiently using high-level API functions, or gain full access to the underlying libraries including source code. Pentek provides numerous examples to assist in the development of new applications.

Pre-configured SPARK system ready for immediate use

The PCIe SPARK development systems are ready for immediate operation with software and hardware installed. In many applications, the SPARK development PC can become the final deployed application platform.


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