It’s time to upgrade your prototyping platform to V7-2000T FPGA

2014.01.06 | Mon-Ren Chene | Chief Technology Officer

Are you still debating if you should upgrade to Virtex-7 2000T FPGA for SoC/ASIC prototyping? I highly recommend upgrading immediately because the Virtex-7 FPGA design flow is now mature, with already 5 Vivado software releases from Xilinx. More importantly, the V7-2000T FPGA is at an affordable price suitable for volume adoption. This is also good news for early V7-2000T adopters because the new price allows replication of a lot more platforms for concurrent developments. I summarized 5 good reasons to upgrade to V7-2000T for SoC/ASIC prototyping below.

Extra-large capacity

    Each V7-2000T FPGA can potentially accommodate up to 20 Million ASIC gates, which is nearly 3 times larger than the previous FPGAs. This means you can reduce efforts to partition complex design blocks. A multi-core ARM CPU can now fit into a single V7 FPGA, and a complex GPU core from Imagination or Vivante can fit into a four V7 FPGA platform like S2C’s Quad V7 Prodigy Logic Module. Extra-large capacity is definitely the number one reason to upgrade to V7-2000T FPGA: you can avoid cutting design functions and enhance system performances when prototyping complex SoC. 

Higher performance

Virtex-7 FPGA uses the advanced 28nm process node and the higher performance is noticeable when compared to the previous generation Virtex-6 FPGA. One of our customers has increased its CPU performance from 75MHz to 100MHz in FPGA and DDR3 now run up to 1600Mbps by simply migrating to Virtex-7 2000T. Furthermore, critical paths can be conProdigyned within a single FPGA by fitting the same design into fewer FPGAs using Virtex-7. The number of interconnections among FPGAs can be reduced and therefore overall system performance will be enhanced.

Embedded Gigabit Transceivers

In previous generations, the biggest FPGAs, such as the Virtex-6 760 and Stratix-4 820, did not have Gigabit Transceivers. Virtex-7 2000T FPGA now has 16 GTX Gigabit Transceivers which can be used for many new SoC interface standards such as PCIe, SATA, V-by-One and SFP. The GTX on S2C V7 Prodigy Logic Modules have been tested to run up to 10Gbps, making it possible to validate PCIe Gen3 applications. S2C has built a library of daughter cards that are designed to use the GTX Gigabit Transceivers out-of-box.

Stable Software Flow

Xilinx launched a new software, Vivado Design Suite, in order to effectively create a design flow that can utilize the extra-large capacity of Virtex-7 FPGA. Some benefits to SoC/ASIC prototyping users include support of the SDC constraint format, more efficient place & route engine and reinforced ECO functions. However, a primary concern for SoC/ASIC prototyping is always the stability of the software. In that regard, I would say I am impressed with the stability of Vivado software, which already had 6 releases of software in about 2 years. In the past 18 months, Xilinx Vivado software has been adopted by over 30 of S2C customer sites and the software has proven that it can productively handle very large designs.

Cost effective – Lowest Price per Gate

Cost is always an important factor to consider when upgrading to a new tool/platform. One common method to understand the cost is the price-per-gate indicator in ASIC emulation. For S2C V7 Prodigy Logic Modules, the cost is less than 0.2 cents per gate. In comparison, prototyping platforms based on Virtex-6 or Stratix-4 FPGA are roughly 0.3 to 0.4 cents per gate. Lower cost means that project managers can prototype a larger design with the same budget, or replicate more platforms to speed up developments.

S2C is the first Virtex-7 2000T FPGA-based prototyping provider in the market. We have shipped over one hundred Virtex-7 2000T Prodigy Logic Modules, including Quad, Dual and Single FPGA configurations to customers worldwide. S2C systems are well known for its flexibility, scalability, reliability and ease of use. If you are interested in upgrading your current SoC/ASIC prototyping platform to Virtex-7 2000T, please contact your local S2C representatives about our reduced pricing and see how our comprehensive SoC/ASIC prototyping solutions can accelerate your development cycle.