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Valued Contributor III
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Is DSP Development Kit, Stratix III Edition the right choice?

Hi everyone, 

 

I have started a project which uses Altera FPGA as part of the system.  

 

I am just wonder whether "DSP Development Kit, Stratix III Edition" is the only development board available from Altera?  

 

Can anyone recommend a full featured development board? I am afraid of wrong selection after ordering the kits for my university.
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Valued Contributor III
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--- Quote Start ---  

 

I have started a project which uses Altera FPGA as part of the system.  

 

I am just wonder whether "DSP Development Kit, Stratix III Edition" is the only development board available from Altera?  

 

Can anyone recommend a full featured development board? I am afraid of wrong selection after ordering the kits for my university. 

--- Quote End ---  

Altera and Terasic have many many development boards. They're shown on their websites; 

 

http://www.altera.com/products/devkits/kit-dev_platforms.jsp 

 

http://www.terasic.com.tw/en/ 

 

What do you want to do with the kits? That would help in the selection process. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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Valued Contributor III
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Thanks Dave, I found the dev kit solely for Stratix III. 

 

Basically I need to build a real time embedded system:- 

to read signal from high speed ADC (~400 mega samples per second), then track certain value and save to 'A' and also write the waveform into text and save into storage device B. 

 

So, it must be able to do multiple tasks in parallel at high speed:- 

1) interface with USB Flash Drive 

2) interface with PC and other instrument through MAC and RS232 or I2C etc. (common interface protocol between IC) 

3) interface to RF link device such as WiFi and BlueTooth 

 

something like that, it seems to be a customised high end motherboard without audio, video and only for realtime super fast ADC output monitoring, tracking, analysis system with large storage volume capability.
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Valued Contributor III
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--- Quote Start ---  

 

Basically I need to build a real time embedded system:- 

to read signal from high speed ADC (~400 mega samples per second), then track certain value and save to 'A' and also write the waveform into text and save into storage device B. 

 

So, it must be able to do multiple tasks in parallel at high speed:- 

1) interface with USB Flash Drive 

2) interface with PC and other instrument through MAC and RS232 or I2C etc. (common interface protocol between IC) 

3) interface to RF link device such as WiFi and BlueTooth 

 

something like that, it seems to be a customised high end motherboard without audio, video and only for realtime super fast ADC output monitoring, tracking, analysis system with large storage volume capability. 

--- Quote End ---  

The 400Msps is no problem. My designs process 8-bits 1GHz dual ADCs. 

 

Writing the waveform to text and saving into store is going to be a problem. I don't think you will find any storage devices capable of writing data this fast, other than perhaps a high-end SATA drive that you control from the FPGA directly. I hope you were not thinking you could write to a flash drive that quickly! 

 

The RF links would probably require external boards, eg., something plugged into the Altera's HSMC connectors that are used on their evaluation boards. 

 

Interfacing to the PC is simple enough. You could also add PCIe to that list if the board was plugged into a motherboard. 

 

You need to clarify whether writing a 'snapshot' of data to disk or data file would be acceptable. If it is, then you could stream data to QDRII+ or DDR3 memory in real-time, and then write it to file, or to the host in non-real-time. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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Valued Contributor III
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Yea, Dave, you are right. 

 

Wow, your system has dual 1GHz? That ADC modules must be expensive though. That's the reason we cut it down to 400MSaps. :D which brand are you using? I hope I can get a good discount for education sector. 

 

Perhaps I will write a snapshot from RAM into text in flash drive, which is easier. 

However monitoring for a preset threshold value from ADC must be in realtime anyway, this feature is not going to be a large stream (a sentence or 2) so I hope stratix 3 can handle it. 

 

Stratix 3 only support DDR2, isnt it? 

 

I want to make my system portable, so it wont be in the form of PCI in a PC but through MAC, is this possible? Or can you recommend a more convenient way, as I am new to Altera anyway. :oops: 

 

RF link requires external board. Hm... I gonna browse Altera pages again.:)
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Valued Contributor III
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Hi WaiSiangYeoh, 

 

I'm not sure if these cards will meet your specfications, but you can check out Terasic AD/DA adapter cards here: http://bit.ly/lj61r6

 

For PCIe communication, you can also check out the Altera DE4 or Altera Arria II GX Development Kit: 

DE4: www.de4.terasic.com 

A2GX: http://bit.ly/m06mmc 

 

Also, here's a full comparison chart for all Altera DE boards for your reference: 

http://bit.ly/lhpbxj 

 

Good luck!
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Valued Contributor III
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--- Quote Start ---  

 

Wow, your system has dual 1GHz? That ADC modules must be expensive though.  

 

--- Quote End ---  

The ADCs are e2v AT84AD001B digitizers. National Semiconductor also has similar devices. The price of the e2v parts is around $250 (on Avnet's web site). The board design is here: 

 

http://www.ovro.caltech.edu/~dwh/carma_board/ (http://www.ovro.caltech.edu/%7edwh/carma_board/

 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

 

However monitoring for a preset threshold value from ADC must be in realtime anyway, this feature is not going to be a large stream (a sentence or 2) so I hope stratix 3 can handle it. 

 

--- Quote End ---  

Finding a value, or all samples above a value, within a stream from the ADCs would be pretty easy. You'll just have to reproduce the logic for each of the demultiplexed data streams, since the FPGA will have multiple ADC samples per FPGA clock. 

 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

 

Stratix 3 only support DDR2, isnt it? 

 

--- Quote End ---  

I don't know. My board uses Stratix II LVDS channels to interface to the ADC at either 500Mbps or 1Gbps. There are test results documents at the above link. 

 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

 

I want to make my system portable, so it wont be in the form of PCI in a PC but through MAC, is this possible? Or can you recommend a more convenient way, as I am new to Altera anyway. :oops: 

 

--- Quote End ---  

You haven't specified whether you want data to be transferred over that link? If you want streaming data off the board, then you might want to use an FPGA with transceivers and use a 10Gb Ethernet link. Alternatively, PCIExpress (PCIe) comes in an external version. ExpressCard's in laptops use PCIe. Perhaps a PCIe link to your box would be cheaper or more useful for streaming data. 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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Valued Contributor III
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That's great Dave. You have help to reorganize the puzzle in my head. I have to count on myself for the rest of work already. I will come back when I need some guru's advice regarding the data handling and in depth speed and FPGA verilog optimisation. 

Great to meet you here. 

Thanks!:D
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Valued Contributor III
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Hi WaiSiangYeoh, 

 

--- Quote Start ---  

You have help to reorganize the puzzle in my head. I have to count on myself for the rest of work already. I will come back when I need some guru's advice regarding the data handling and in depth speed and FPGA verilog optimisation. 

Great to meet you here. 

 

--- Quote End ---  

You're welcome. Have fun solving your puzzle :) 

 

Cheers, 

Dave
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