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FPGAs Flex Their DSP Muscles

Written by Jeff Child
Pros at Signal Processing Because they marry the combined benefits of powerful signal processing and system-level integration, FPGAs now rank as a key technology for embedded system developers. FPGA vendors are keeping pace with both chip- and IP-level solutions that meet today’s system design demands. Today’s FPGAs provide the kind of system-oriented digital signal processing (DSP) requirements in demand across a variety of applications—including broadcast video, financial processing systems, machine leaning, software-defined radio and many others. Meanwhile, it is already a given these days that FPGAs have become complete systems-on-chips (SoCs). While the trend toward FPGAs with general-purpose CPU cores embedded on them is nothing new, the latest crop FPGA architectures have moved toward supporting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning types of processing. Even within the past six months, FPGA vendors have announced new solutions that improve upon these processing levels. Aside from CPU and DSP processing, another big advantage of FPGAs lies in their ample, programmable, high-speed I/O, which is why they are often found close to the analog-to-digital converters (ADC) in radio frequency (RF) and radar applications. 6 GHZ SPECTRUM SUPPORTExemplifying those trends, Xilinx in February announced an upgrade to its Zynq UltraScale+ RF SoC) portfolio adding greater RF performance and scalability. The new generation of these devices can cover the entire sub 6 GHz spectrum, which is a critical need for next-generation 5G deployment, says Xilinx. They support direct RF sampling of up to 5 GSPS, 14-bit ADCs and 10 GS/s 14-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs), both up to 6 GHz of analog bandwidth. The RFSoC portfolio now includes the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 2 and Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 3. Gen 2 is now in production and meets regional deployment timelines in Asia and supports 5G New Radio. The Gen 3 device provides full s
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FPGAs Flex Their DSP Muscles

by Jeff Child time to read: 7 min