07-11-2014 08:46 AM
I'm just starting on paper with the Spartan-6 LX16 development kit. I don't have one in hand yet. Before I buy... How long does it take this board to boot up? Is it a milliseconds kind of time frame? Or a many seconds to minutes kind of time frame like many embedded linux systems? I'm hoping it's far under a second.
07-12-2014 03:48 PM
07-13-2014 06:57 AM
Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply.
In fact I do *not* want embedded Linux. I have not yet had time to study much of the internals of the Spartan-6, so I wasn't sure yet what this MicroBlaze was about. I deduce from your post that it's a cludge of a processor built out of FPGA components.
My primary interest in the dev kit is both the Spartan-6 and the PSoC3. I have a lot of PSoC intellectual property, and it is a good platform to be my main platform for this new custom product design. My interest in the Spartan-6 is merely to (A) receive 8 simultaneous channels of ADC data at under 1kSPS, (B) filter it through a complex series of multiply-and-accumulate [MAC] steps, then (C) downsample the data to get possibly 1SPS per channel that gets passed to the PSoC.
So I think your 2.5 seconds to get the PL running will hopefully be a comparable time to what it takes to get my MACs running and therefore hopefully data flowing into the PSoC. I can easily "hide" that from the user with a logo splash output. If the MicroBlaze is required in some way -- to configure my ADCs, effect the down sampling and PSoC communication, or something else -- then I guess I'll have to just try to make that as streamlined as possible. A total of 11.5 seconds is approaching an order of magnitude slower than just 2.5 seconds (duh!), so that would be more difficult to "hide" from the user. Maybe my MicroBlaze program would be smaller and faster to load. We'll see.
For the moment, this is all prototype. So I won't necessarily be married to any of these dev kits. I have gotten the impression, though, that the Spartan-6 is the right low-power device for my digital filter MACs and down sampling. It's probably far, far more powerful than I need. But there's a chance my 1kSPS input rate could skyrocket after further R&D. So having the excess capability is a plus.
I have a prior product into which my associate designed the Critical Link mitydsp-l138f. It has an embedded Spartan-6. It's ready long before the linux. I have a little programming experience on that FPGa implementation, but no pcb design or general setup experience with the Spartan-6. That won't stop me though. I do have 39 years programming experience, on too many platforms to count, large and small, with an equal amount of electronics experience. It's just this particular guy I haven't used before.
Nevertheless, if something comes to mind that might be a better low-power fit to my MAC need, please DO let me know. There are so many options out there, one can't become an expert on all of them in order to make the omniscient best choice. About these MACs, I haven't calculated my exact FLOPS or MIPS needed, but it's not too great. So far as MAC stages, it will be less than 80 probably, and could be as small as 40. Divide that by 8 for my prototype need (single channel). Obviously, some flexible wiring between MAC stages is needed.