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Embedded Systems Design, Inc. Unveils StreamBlade™ 5600 FPGA-Based Processing Platform
Ideal platform for developing real-time applications in telecom/datacom, signal generation/recognition, algorithm acceleration, and test instrumentation

ELKRIDGE, MD--April 15, 2008--Embedded Systems Design, Inc. (ESD), an embedded engineering services and products company delivering high-performance, real-time, embedded processing systems, today announced its release of the StreamBlade™ 5600 (SB-5600-T). This 3U desktop or rack-mount FPGA-based processing platform is designed as a stand-alone real-time streaming I/O processing system utilizing a combination of FPGA, embedded, and general purpose processing nodes. The SB-5600 platform is ideally suited to real-time applications including: streaming data (voice, video, and image), telecom/datacom, symbol-to-bit conversion, algorithm acceleration, data formatting, pattern generation/recognition, and test instrumentation.

The StreamBlade 5600 is a member of ESD's StreamBlade™ family of products that provide developers with the software infrastructure and hardware building blocks to build distributed processing systems. Like other StreamBlade products, the SB-5600 was built to satisfy a set of client requirements. In this case, the client needed a self-contained system to generate pseudo random bit sequence (PRBS) patterns and verify PRBS patterns with bit error injection capability. Additionally, the client required that 60 streams/channels be supported with six different physical electrical interface types and nine modes. In response, ESD's engineers developed the SB-5600 FPGA-based processing platform with selectable I/O modules providing signal conditioning and translation for LVDS, RS-422, ECL, T1/E1, T3/E3, and Gigabit Ethernet. All I/O signals are converted to/from FPGA pin compatible voltage levels. The collection of internal reference clocks and programmable PLL clock generators provide the necessary resolution for accurate FPGA-based transmit clocking. A touch screen interface and 10/100 Ethernet is available on the 3U model for configuration and control. There is also a 1U model, which has the 10/100 Ethernet for configuration and control but no touch screen.

"FPGA adoption and especially the development of combined hardware/software boundary solutions have been hampered by the lack of standardized commodity development platforms and user friendly development tools," said Mark Wecht, President and CEO, ESD. "We want to push the marketplace to embrace a processing platform standard, like the MAC or PC that combines re-configurable processing nodes and general purpose processing nodes. The StreamBlade 5600 platform bridges this gap and encourages discussion between hardware platform and software tool developers seeking new platforms and tools that take advantage of emerging technologies."

With the SB-5600 platform in place, ESD engineers developed an FPGA-based PRBS Sink/Source application to generate PRBS patterns and verify PRBS patterns with bit error injection capability. A single SB-5600 can process sixty PRBS I/O streams/channels simultaneously and functionally replaces three 1U Dell 1750s each with two COTS PCI-based bit capture cards installed. The StreamBlade 5600 was delivered to the client configured with the PRBS Sink/Source application for $20,000 and replaced about $70,000 worth of equipment per test bench. The SB-5600 platform was delivered, from initial concept, with application, including its custom enclosure, in eighteen weeks ARO.

The StreamBlade5600 allows developers to take full advantage of its two Xilinx Virtex-4 FX60 FPGAs (or, optionally, two Xilinx Virtex-4 FX100 FPGAs). The device supports four independent 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, two for each FX60 FPGA. Each FX60 FPGA has two 8MB banks of ZBT SRAM and two 128MB banks of DDR2 SDRAM. The developer also has full access to four Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGAs which in turn have access to the configured I/O. The platform general purpose processor is running a generic Linux 2.6 distribution. The architecture is "open." Most applications will not require a real-time OS or kernel, eliminating expensive license fees from software development costs. Developers can get started on platform hardware/software application development with Eclipse, GNU tools, and an FPGA design flow.

                StreamBlade™ 5600 Platform Architecture

The StreamBlade 5600 platform comes with an Application Development Kit (ADK), which is compliant with Xilinx ISE/EDK and includes APIs (with sample applications) to help customers begin using the platform immediately. Software can be developed using the Xilinx EDK and GNU tools. System-on-FPGA (SoFPGA) reference designs are provided, including cores. The development kit also includes utilities for loading FPGA bit streams and the embedded PPC405 executable files into the SB-5600 platform's flash memory.

The StreamBlade 5600 3U platform including touch screen, standard I/O modules, and ADK is available for $15,000 in single quantities. The standard I/O modules support the signal types described above. ESD will work with clients to develop new I/O modules and applications and provide training and design information to clients who wish to develop their own modules and applications.

ESD plans to augment the StreamBlade family as new requirements and enabling technologies arise, and will continue to develop specialized hardware/software boundary solutions to satisfy requirements for clients who want to avoid the costs and risks associated with an in-house development.

About Embedded Systems Design, Inc.:
Embedded Systems Design, Inc. (ESD) is an innovative team of system architects and engineers delivering advanced embedded hardware and software engineering services and products for the development of high-performance, real-time, embedded processing systems. ESD has been providing embedded engineering services and developing hardware and software solutions for customers since 1996. The solutions ESD creates are independent of specific technologies; its engineers apply the most appropriate technical alternatives to meet customer requirements, employing both current and emerging technologies. www.embedded-sys.com


Andrea Doeringer
Hart-Boillot, LLC
t. 781-893-0053
f. 781-893-0049

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