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Plug-in daughter board

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ALTIUM has released a plug-in daughter board supporting the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGA as part of an FPGA daughter board release for its LiveDesign-enabled FPGA-based development platform, the NanoBoard.

The Virtex-II Pro daughter board incorporates a Xilinx XC2VP7-6FG456C FPGA that contains 11,088 logic cells arranged in 4928 CLB slices. The device has a Power PC 405 processor core and four Rocket-I/O transceivers. Direct access to two of the Rocket-I/O transceivers on the chip is provided by eight gold-plated coaxial connectors mounted across the top of the daughter board. The board comes with four coax loop-back connector cables for the transceivers and includes Nexar design examples showing the use of the transceiver channels.

The Virtex-II Pro daughter board plugs into Altium's NanoBoard, which interfaces to Altium's Nexar design software that allows the interactive development of complete systems, including processor-based design, on an FPGA platform.

LiveDesign is the Nexar design methodology. It enables real time communication with active devices in the circuit that are running inside the target FPGA. The NanoBoard and target daughter board act as a nano-level breadboard that allows interactive development and debugging of systems without the need for simulation at the system level. The NanoBoard can also be used with Altium's Protel 2004 board-level design system for interactive FPGA hardware development.

Altium will provide complete design support for the Virtex-II Pro in its Nexar development system. This includes a full embedded software development toolchain for the immersed Power PC core.

The toolchain is based on Altium's Tasking Viper compiler framework. It includes a C compiler and source-level debugger for the MCU. The software development toolchain is fully integrated with the Nexar development environment, allowing designers to fully utilise the core within the LiveDesign process. The Power PC core itself is represented in the system as a component that can be incorporated into the design at the block diagram level and combined with the other FPGA-based components to facilitate rapid systems development.

Nexar also includes constraint files that map the FPGA pinout on the daughter board to the relevant NanoBoard resources, allowing easy targeting of a design for the Virtex-II Pro. The FPGA-based components supplied with Nexar, including its range of processor peripherals and generic logic blocks, have been pre-synthesised and pre-verified to support all target devices, including the Virtex-II Pro.

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