Computer/Embedded Technology


Pentek Quartz RFSoC board in rugged enclosure

25 November 2020 Computer/Embedded Technology

Pentek introduced an addition to the Quartz RFSoC architecture family, the Model 6350, an eight-channel A/D and D/A converter system in a rugged, small form factor enclosure. Based on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC FPGA, the Model 6350 is very suitable for SIGINT and COMINT, military communications, electronic warfare (EW) countermeasures, radar transceiver, test and measurement, SATCOM, LiDAR, 5G and LTE wireless applications.

Optimised for SWaP (size, weight and power), the Model 6350 measures 8,97 cm (h) x 14,35 cm (w) x 24,31 cm (d) and weighs in at just under 3,6 kg. Intended for use in rugged environments, the Model 6350 is designed to the IP67 specification for dust and water immersion. The internal ‘I-beam’ construction creates a chassis that is both extremely rugged and efficient for moving heat out of the box, making it ideal for deployment in the harshest environments and well matched to conduction cooled installations. The Model 6350 can also be used with an optional fan plate for desktop development.

The Quartz architecture difference

The Pentek Quartz architecture embodies a streamlined approach to FPGA products, simplifying the design for reduced power and cost, while still providing some of the highest-performance FPGA resources available today. Supported by Pentek’s Navigator Design Suite tools, Quartz products offer users an efficient path for 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, along with quad ARM Cortex-A53 and dual ARM Cortex-R5 processors, creating a multichannel data conversion and processing solution on a single chip.

Factory installed IP advances development

The Model 6350 is pre-loaded with a suite of Pentek IP modules to provide data capture, timing, interface, 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. It can be used out-of-the-box with these built-in functions, requiring no FPGA development.

Data conversion

The front end accepts analog IF or RF inputs on eight external SMA 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 SMA connector. The Model 6350’s simplified connector scheme provides full access to control, data, and power using environmentally rugged connectors.

The Model 6350 supports eight 28 Gbps full duplex optical lanes to a miniature rugged circular connector. With the built-in 100 GigE UDP interface or installation of a user provided serial protocol, this optical interface enables a high-speed gigabit data streaming path between the Model 6350 and data storage or processing subsystems.

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 documentation. 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 fully 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 the ARM processors. Users can 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.


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