Auto Electronics

Xilinx introduces automotive-qualified XA Spartan-3A and Spartan-3A DSP FPGAs

Xilinx has introduced Automotive (XA) Spartan-3A and Spartan-3A digital signal processor field-programmable gate arrays (DSP FPGAs) for input/output (I/O) intensive thin film transistor (TFT) display and light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting applications in instrument clusters and infotainment and driver-assistance systems.

"Our XA FPGA-based solutions enable automotive designers to reduce board complexity by taking on more functionality and system integration," said Kevin Tanaka, worldwide automotive marketing and product planning manager for Xilinx’s Automotive Division. He added that the devices offer low-cost connectivity and DSP capabilities and new power management and security features with tighter overall design integration.

Tanaka noted that instrument clusters combining analog and digital circuitry require a high I/O count to control analog gauges and LED lighting, as well as advanced I/O capabilities such as low voltage differential signal (LVDS) and reduced swing differential signal (RSDS) to control displays intelligently. XA Spartan-3A DSP devices can also be used in vision systems, which require high-bandwidth processing, flexibility and scalability.

“LED backlighting, where each LED in the cluster must be adjusted for color and brightness, was previously managed using a complex programmable logic device (CPLD) alongside a microcontroller,” Tanaka noted. “Now, this all can be integrated on-board in XA Spartan-3A devices with the embedded Xilinx 32-bit MicroBlaze soft microprocessor.”

The new devices offer up to 1.4 million system gates and 502 I/Os. They deliver more than 30 GMACS (giga multiply-accumulate operations per-second) and offer 2200 Gigabits per-second memory bandwidth. Members of the family provide up to 53,712 logic cells, 2268 Kbits of block RAM, and 373 Kbits of distributed RAM.

The devices are compliant with 26 popular single-ended and differential signaling standards and also support market-specific networking standards, such as CAN, MOST and FlexRay. The devices use source-synchronous interfacing technology that is cost-optimized for optimal design margins.

Other XA Spartan-3A features include dual-power management (suspend and hibernate modes), device configuration, two (vs.three) power rails, and permanent DeviceDNA serial numbering to safeguard hardware and software intellectual property (IP).

The cost-optimized XtremeDSP DSP48A slice lets designers implement many independent arithmetic functions, and multiple slices can be connected together without the use of general logic fabric, thus reducing power consumption while delivering high performance and efficient silicon utilization, according to Tanaka.

“These slices combined with hard-coded DSP pre-adder and multiply accumulate (MAC) blocks provide more than enough processing capacity to execute complex image algorithms faster than any serial DSP on the automotive market today,” he contended.

XA Spartan-3A FPGAs will ship in the second quarter priced from less than $8.50 in 50,000-unit quantities for devices with 200K system gates. XA Spartan-3A DSP devices will ship in the third quarter. They are priced from less than $32 with 1.8 million system gates.

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