FPGA server module integration: what you need to know


REFLEX CES’s certified FPGA server modules feature the latest FPGA accelerators, allowing customers to develop and deploy more quickly with reduced risk and cost. Getting started has never been easier. Launch your application proof of concept without spending valuable additional resources for configuration. It is a one stop shop for all your development needs. However, FPGA operating system and development tools are pre-installed. The FPGA hardware device drivers, diagnostic utilities and toolkits are ready to go. A single, comprehensive hardware warranty covers both the server chassis and the FPGA accelerator card. Technical support and design services are available upon request. FPGA server modules are ready for deployment in mission critical applications, with minimal cost and risk.

High-Level FPGA Options Overview

You can choose from various FPGA models that are available at different prices. Each module has unique combination of functions and capabilities. At the heart of any FPGA is its programmable fabric. This is presented as a set of programmable logic blocks, also known as logic elements (LE). The next step in the FPGA fabric is to include things like SRAM blocks, called block RAM (BRAM), phase lock loops (PLL), and clock managers. Digital signal processing (DSP) blocks.

The simplest FPGAs contain only programmable fabric and configurable general purpose IO (GPIO) (the different architectures augment this fundamental fabric with SRAM blocks, PLL and clock managers), DSP blocks and SERDES interfaces, and peripheral and hard processor cores. Peripheral interface can be implemented as flexible cores in the programmable fabric, but many FPGAs include them as rigid cores in silicon. Similarly, microprocessors can be implemented as flexible cores in the programmable structure or as rigid cores in silicon. FPGAs with hard processor cores are called system-on-chip FPGAs.

Different FPGAs offer different sets of functions, features and capabilities targeting different markets and applications. There are several FPGA vendors, including Intel, and Xilinx. All of these vendors offer multiple FPGA families. Some offer SoC FPGAs, some offer devices targeting artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, and some offer radiation-tolerant devices for space applications. Choosing the best device for the task at hand can be tricky because there are so many families, each offering different resources.

Design and development with Intel FPGAs

In the first part of this series on FPGAs, the traditional way of designing these devices is for engineers to use a Hardware Description Language to capture design intent at an abstraction level. These RTL descriptions can first be simulated to verify that they work as required, after which they are passed to a synthesis tool that generates the configuration file used to configure the FPGA. The next step in the abstraction is to capture the design intent using a programming language like C/C ++.

The Pro edition is optimized to support the advanced features of next-generation FPGAs and SOCs with the Stratix 10, Arria 10, and Cyclone 10 GX device families. The Standard edition includes extensive support for the above device families. Intel offers a huge range of additional design tools and resources, including the Intel DSP Builder, the Intel High Level Synthesis Compiler, and the Intel FPGA SDK for Open-CL.