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Newly certified devices feature hardened PCI controller cores

Surging demand for high-bandwidth data processing and transfer capabilities within computing, networking and storage has led to an increased adoption of PCIe beyond the traditional storage and chip-to-chip applications, according to Dependra Lall, lead analyst at market research firm IndustryARC.

There is also an increasing trend of FPGA-based PCIe implementation to easily transfer data to host systems or to PCIe endpoint enabled devices in applications such as high-performance computing, storage switches, industrial/medical imaging and Ethernet network interface cards.

The high-performance computing and industrial imaging markets, combined, are expected to grow from $30.7 billion in 2017 to $47.5 billion by 2023, which will further proliferate implementation of FPGA-based PCIe designs in the market.

Now, Microsemi Corporation’s PolarFire field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have achieved a key milestone by passing the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group’s (PCI SIG’s) PCIe endpoint compliance suites, working at 5 Gbps.

This certifies the product has passed rigorous testing of the compliance workshop, with the PolarFire FPGAs now included in the organisation’s coveted integrators list.

Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGA devices feature 12.7G transceivers and offer up to 50% lower power than competing mid-range FPGAs.

They include hardened PCIe controller cores with both endpoints and root port modes available, as well as low power transceivers.

In addition to establishing technical credibility with customers, passing the PCI SIG PCIe endpoint compliance suites demonstrates the robustness of PolarFire FPGAs as well as their performance capabilities for control planes and other applications in the lowest power, cost-optimised mid-range devices spanning from 100K logic elements (LEs) to 500K LEs.

“Achieving this key milestone from the leader in PCIe testing validates our PolarFire FPGAs’ robust performance capabilities via an independent third party, giving customers added confidence in leveraging these unique devices,” said Venki Narayanan, senior director software and systems engineering at Microsemi.

“As we continue to see an increase in the use of FPGA-based PCIe implementations, we are pleased to offer an FPGA which caters to its specific technology requirements, along with an evaluation kit and boards to deliver a complete development solution.”

While Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGAs are designed for a wide variety of applications within the communications, industrial, and aerospace and defence markets, the new certification demonstrates the devices’ particular suitability for PCIe-based complex system control planes.

The PolarFire PCIe solution comes complete with Libero project, AX14 Interconnect, DDR3 controller, open source Windows and Linux host drivers, and a complete PolarFire FPGA PCIe User Guide.

In addition, the company’s complementary PolarFire Evaluation Kit is a comprehensive platform for evaluating its PolarFire FPGAs which includes a PCIe edge connector with four lanes and a demo design.

The kit features a high-pin-count FPGA mezzanine card (FMC), numerous surface mount assemblies (SMAs), PCIe, dual Gigabit Ethernet RJ45, small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules and USB.

The company’s Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite enables high productivity with its comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to adopt development tools for designing with Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGAs.

The Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite enables a design launching point for customers, with key quick start demonstration designs for rapid evaluation and prototyping.

Multiple demo reference designs are available with full design files for Libero SoC PolarFire targeting the PolarFire Evaluation Kit, including JESD204B Interface, PCI Express (PCIe) Endpoint, 10GBASE-R Ethernet Loopback, DSP FIR Filter and Multi-Rate Transceiver Demo, with additional reference designs planned over the coming months.

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