SAN JOSE, USA: Xilinx Inc. announced that Micro/sys, Inc. has built a small, low-power, rugged board using an integrated Spartan-6 FPGA with MicroBlaze processor sub-system and ARM® Cortex-A8 processor.
The new Micro/sys SBC1651 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) single-board computer (SBC) gives embedded users the ability to adapt a single board to handle a wide range of I/O (input-output) configurations for a variety of applications, while reducing production costs and time-to-market.
“As CPU designs and FPGA technology have evolved, it has become increasing more appropriate to combine these two technologies onto a single board computer,” said Susan Wooley, president of Micro/sys. “The marriage of the Cortex-A8 processor with the Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA on a PC/104-sized board represents a significant advance in embedded board-level products. Our customers gain I/O flexibility with the on-board FPGA and low-power, extended temperature performance of the Cortex-A8 RISC processor, allowing them to implement embedded systems that offer very sophisticated multimedia user interfaces.”
“Xilinx’s easy-to-use development tool chain coupled with the flexibility to choose from standalone IP cores or to implement simple I/O in a distributed-control-like application makes it ideally suited for our COTS customers requiring custom or proprietary I/O,” added Wooley. “In addition, the performance and innovative low-power design of the Spartan-6 FPGA provide Micro/sys the competitive edge, with performance gains of 200 percent and power reduction of 30 percent when compared to similar Intel/x86 solutions. In the future, we look forward to leveraging next-generation 28nm Xilinx FPGAs to expand our portfolio of FPGA and ARM processor single-board computer products.”
Micro/sys specializes in OEM high-performance, compact, low-power industrial single board computer products and solutions suited for demanding environments, offering original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) easily customizable off-the-shelf single board computer solutions. With flexible FPGA I/O options, the new Micro/sys SBC1651 allows OEMs to efficiently configure boards to their exact I/O requirements, tailoring the SBC to address the embedded I/O requirements in markets such as automation, medical, transportation, energy, military, and communications.
The Micro/sys SBC1651 provides user access to the Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA on a low-power, high-performance SBC featuring Freescale Semiconductor’s i.MX515 ARM Cortex-A8 processor. Matching the newest Freescale i.MX processor series with Xilinx’s vast library of intellectual property (IP) modules for I/O expansion, the SBC1651 provides maximum off-the-shelf I/O flexibility on a single board computer. With the on-board FPGA, OEMs are able to configure the board to their specific I/O requirements, including simple I/O such as UARTs, DIO, CAN and more as well as higher-level features such as DSP, gigabit Ethernet, SATA, or dual video.
The added I/O flexibility enables OEMs to maximize cost-efficiencies in design and production, because they adapt a single SBC to meet all of their I/O needs by simply reconfiguring the FPGA. This approach reduces the need for multiple plug-on I/O boards, eliminates the need for different hardware builds for different models in manufacturing, and consolidates versions into one IP install on the FPGA. These efficiencies can be leveraged into future designs, making OEM product upgrades easier to implement and product life cycles extended with the elimination of specialized integrated circuits.
FPGA I/O customization is valuable for customers who could not previously consider COTS solutions, because their application required a high-level of customization. With access to the FPGA, Micro/Sys customers can now install and integrate their own proprietary IP to maintain the software application differentiation, while realizing the efficiencies of an off-the-shelf single board computer.