Electronic Design

FPGA Module Networks Soft Processors

Compact networking packages are no longer limited to single-chip Ethernet-based MCUs, with the release of Memec's line of FPGA-based mini-modules. The 30- by 65.5-mm modules sport a Xilinx Virtex-4 with on-chip PowerPC cores or a Spartan-3 FPGA and an RJ-45 connector. Some versions come with an on-chip Ethernet media-access controller, while others implement Gigabit Ethernet via a separate chip. The modules offer 76 I/O lines that can be single-ended or differential pairs. They also feature 64 Mbytes of RAM and 4 Mbytes of flash in addition to FPGA memory. Standard Xilinx development tools are used for PowerPC and FPGA programming. Pricing starts at $195. A development board with an LCD display, serial and USB ports, and JTAG interface costs $195.


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