XILINX VIRTEX 7 FPGA: THE MAGIC SSI TECHNOLOGY

Do you know that The Virtex-7 2000T is the world’s highest capacity field-programmable gate array (FPGA) device?

System designers leverage 6.8 billion transistors with access to over 2 million logic cells. This equivalence of about 20 million ASIC gates makes these devices ideal for optimized system integration, replacements, and ASIC prototyping. It would further interest you that Xilinx employs a new technology known as stacked silicon interconnect.

You may have previously read about the Virtex FPGAs on the internet, but you won’t find such gems you would learn here on any other blog. So if this sounds pretty good, let’s dive in.

In this article, you will get a better understanding of the following concepts concerning the Xilinx Virtex 7 FPGAs;

  • Why Do Designers Choose The Xilinx Virtex 7?
  • Applications of the Xilinx Virtex 7.
  • Features Of The Xilinx Virtex 7.
  • What To Expect WhenYou Order A Virtex 7.

WHY DESIGNERS CHOSE XILINX VIRTEX 7

XILINX VIRTEX 7
  • Designers of applications requiring 10G to 100G networking, ASIC prototyping, and portable have found the Virtex 7 useful. Virtex 7 design is to improve system performance and integration with the 28 nm. As a result, the Virtex 7 brings its customers the best performance/watt fabric, DSP performance, and I/O bandwidth.
  • More interesting and important to designers is adding a particular layer of silicon known as a silicon interposer integrated with through-Silicon Vias (TSVs). With this technology, Xilinx went a step ahead of the others in the industry. The silicon interposer provides four FPGA die, connecting the package apart from joining the FPGAs.
  • Usually, a new semiconductor process takes lots of time to ramp up and support the yields per wafer scalability. It makes the most significant electronics devices economically viable.

However, with the Stacked Silicon Interconnect technology, the challenges of designing a defect-free world’s most considerable capacity programmable logic device from four separate FPGA die as possible. Below are additional features why the Virtex 7 FPGA stands out;

  • It features programmable system integration.
    • It Provides a high-density networking design with high bandwidth.
    • It Supports complete high-speed serial transceivers.
    • It Provides the availability of portable radar at its highest performance.
    • It makes application design easy for aerospace and defense controllers.

APPLICATIONS OF THE XILINX VIRTEX 7 FPGA

  • High-performance computing
  • Test and measurement
  • 400G and 100G line cards
  • 300G Interlaken bridge
  • Terabit switch fabric
  • 100G ON
  • MUXPONDER
  • 24 channel portable radar beamformer
  • ASIC emulation

FEATURES OF THE XILINX VIRTEX 7

  • It supports Up to 40% lower cos BOM reduction than the EasyPath 7 cost reduction path multi-chip solution.
  • The Virtex 7 has improved programmable system integration of up to 2 M logic cells, VCXO component, AXI IP, and AMS integration.
  • It supports an increased system performance of up to 2.8 Tb/s total serial bandwidth. It also support up to 96 x 13.1 Gb/s GTs, up to 16 x 28.05 Gb/s GTs, 5,335 GMACs, 68 Mb BRAM, DDR3-1866
  • There is up to 70% total power reduction of lower power than a multi-chip solution.
  • It Possesses enhanced accelerated design productivity with scalable optimized architecture, comprehensive tools, IP, and TDPs.

 

MAJOR CHALLENGES BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION OF VIRTEX 7 FPGAs

You might want to pause and think about how much the Virtex 7 can benefit you and your team at this juncture. You already know that in electronics design, manufacturers are concerned about;

  1. Optimum performance.
  2. Power consumption.
  3. Board Utilization
  4. Production cost etc.

Here’s Xilinx with the Virtex 7. Xilinx tries to match everything on a single board. Let us focus on the challenges experienced designers with the preceding development boards;

  • Designers find it challenging to implement advanced serial connectivity standards for the following generation of devices.
  • Increasing data processing performance was a significant problem faced by designers too.
  • Meeting a restricted power budget is another problem designers face before the series 7 FPGA family introductions.
  • Designers also had to deal with slower time-to-market before now.

SOLUTIONS PROVIDED BY THE XILINX VIRTEX 7

  • Improved Performance
    Xilinx showed why they are industry giants with the Virtex-7 FPGA delivery. The virtex 7 supports up to 2 million logic cells and more than 5TMACS DSP throughput. It also allows t each clock cycle to work efficiently.
    The Virtex 7 supports up to 88 advanced serial transceivers with more than 4Tbps of serial bandwidth. These capabilities allow better levels of processing performance for advanced RADAR, high-performance computing, and advanced medical imaging systems.
    The Virtex-7 FPGAs also provide more than 3.5 times the capacity of the preceding generation. Furthermore, as a member of the Xilinx 7 series, the Virtex 7 supports enhanced memory. Also, DSP and I/O resources have raised the device performance bar high apart from memory improvement.
  • SCALABLE OPTIMIZED ARCHITECTURE
    Building with an FPGA with a scalable architecture is non-negotiable. Designers may want to upgrade or downgrade a format. For design migrations and new projects, the Virtex-7 architecture mitigates development times. In addition, it can allow designers to focus on product differentiation.
    All Xilinx 7 series FPGA families support an optimized, scalable architecture. In addition, it allows for the protection of IP investments and makes it easy to migrate six series designs.
    Another advantage of this scalable optimized architecture is rapid retargeting within all seven series. The Xilinx 7 series boasts of the following common elements;
  • logic fabric,
  • block RAM,
  • DSP engines,
  • clocking,
  • Agile Mixed Signal (AMS) capability etc.
  • IMPROVED POWER
    Xilinx disrupted the market once again with its low-power design. The design features an industry-leading 28nm HPL process technology.
    The architectural design also reduces I/O power consumption while increasing bandwidth. To crown it all, Xilinx added an intelligent clock-gating algorithms design software to lower active power consumption further.
  • ADVANCED CONFIGURATION
    The Xilinx series 7 FPGA supports self-reconfiguration with different images. This process is possible using SPI or BPI flash. It allows the FPGA to reload its original design in case of transmission errors. The Virtex 7 is capable of ensuring an operational FPGA at the end of the process. Having a flexible update for a design after shipping the end product is beneficial.
    This advanced configuration feature lets customers ship their products with an early design version while getting them to market without delays. In addition, this flexibility feature allows customers to keep their end-users up-to-date designs.
    Another feature of this configuration flexibility is the dynamic reconfiguration port (DRP). This feature gives the system designer easy access to the programming and status registers. The DRP acts like a set of memory-mapped signal records that accesses and modifies block-specific configuration bits and control registers.
    When in master mode, the Virtex 7 FPGA can drive the configuration clock for higher speed configuration. The implication is that the FPGA can use an external configuration clock source. However, in Slave modes, about 32 bits wide are supported by the FPGA, which is especially useful for only processor-driven configurations.
  • DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING (DSP) SLICE
    DSP applications need a lot of binary multipliers and accumulators. So these multipliers and accumulators are arranged in dedicated DSP slices. It allows for high-speed combinations using small sizes.
    The DSP slice provides extension capabilities that improve the speed and efficiency of applications beyond digital signal processing. It also achieves overall efficiency and performance by delivering dynamic bus shifters, wide bus multiplexers, and memory-mapped I/O register files. The accumulator also serves as a synchronous up/down counter, aiding fast and flexible data processing.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ORDER A VIRTEX 7 EVALUATION KIT

As you may have known, the FPGA evaluation kit is central to programming or configuring your FPGAs. They provide software and hardware environment to help designers develop full designs and test them. You can get the virtex evaluation kit on our website here.

So what is inside the Xilinx Virtex 7 VC707 evaluation kit?

Depending on when you have access to this article, the Xilinx Virtex 7 FPGA comes with the following;

  • A VC707 board with the Virtex-7 XC7VX485T FPGA
  • An ISE Design Suite: Logic Edition (full seat, node-locked, device-locked to the XC7VX485T FPGA)
  • A Vivado® Design Suite Installation DVD.
  • A Printed entitlement voucher. This voucher is entitled to the Vivado Design Suite, Logic Edition, node-locked, and device-locked to the XC7VX485T FPGA. Be sure to follow the printed instructions on the voucher to help you redeem your software entitlement.
  • AMS101 evaluation card.
  • USB cable, Standard-A plug to Mini-B plug.
  • USB cable, Standard-A plug to Micro-B plug.
  • HDMI™ cable, type-A plug to type-A plug.
  • Power Supply: 100 VAC–240 VAC input, 12 VDC 5.0A output.
  • Power cords to support three main plug types.
  • A Getting Started Guide

 

CONCLUSION

No other FPGA matches the Virtex 7 in providing an ideal platform for cost-effective, high-performance applications. In addition, the inclusion of the stacked silicon interconnect was a game-changer for designers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Which version of vivado suite can I use to implement my HDL design?

A: All vivado versions support any series seven, including the Virtex 7.

Q: What is the significant difference between the virtex 6 and 7 FPGA.

A: The virtex 6 operates on a 40nm node against the 28nm of the Virtex 7. Also power cut is 15% in Virtex 6 against the 50% in Virtex 7.

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