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Home > Pipeline Newsletters > 4-Channel 1.25 GHz D/A with DUC and Virtex-6 FPGA - x8 PCIe

Winter 2011-2012 Vol. 20, No. 3

4-Channel 1.25 GHz D/A with DUC and Virtex-6 FPGA - x8 PCIe


  • Four 1.25 GHz 16-bit D/As
  • Four digital upconverters
  • Programmable output levels
  • 250 MHz max. output bandwidth
  • 2 GB of DDR3 SDRAM
  • Supports Xilinx Virtex-6 LXT and SXT FPGAs
  • Dual-┬ÁSync clock/sync bus for multiboard synchronization
  • PCI Express (Gen. 1 & 2) up to x8
  • Clock/sync bus for multiboard synchronization
  • Optional user-configurable gigabit serial interface
  • Optional LVDS connections to the Virtex-6 FPGA for custom I/O

Model 78670 General Information

The Model 78670 is the first member of the Onyx® family of high performance PCIe boards based on the Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. This 4-channel, high-speed data converter is suitable for connection to transmit HF or IF ports of a communications or radar system. Its built-in data playback features offer an ideal turnkey solution for demanding transmit applications.

It includes four D/As, four digital upconverters and four banks of memory. In addition to supporting PCI Express Gen. 2 as a native interface, the Model 78670 includes general-purpose and gigabit serial connectors for application-specific I/O.

The Cobalt Architecture

The Pentek Cobalt® Architecture features a Virtex-6 FPGA. All of the board's data and control paths are accessible by the FPGA, enabling factory-installed functions including data multiplexing, channel selection, data packing, gating, triggering and memory control. The Cobalt Architecture organizes the FPGA as a container for data processing applications where each function exists as an intellectual property (IP) module.

Each member of the Cobalt® family is delivered with factory-installed applications ideally matched to the board's analog interfaces. The 78670 factory-installed functions include four D/A waveform playback IP modules, to support waveform generation through the D/A converters. IP modules for DDR3 SDRAM memories, a controller for all data clocking and synchronization functions, a test signal generator, and a PCIe interface complete the factory-installed functions and enable the 78670 to operate as a complete turnkey solution, without the need to develop any FPGA IP.

Digital Upconverter and D/A

Two Texas Instruments DAC3484s provide four DUC (digital upconverter) and D/A channels. Each channel accepts a baseband real or complex data stream from the FPGA and provides that input to the upconvert, interpolate and D/A stage.

When operating as a DUC, it interpolates and translates real or complex baseband input signals to a user selectable IF center frequency. It delivers real or quadrature (I+Q) analog outputs to a 16-bit D/A converter.

If translation is disabled, each D/A acts as an interpolating 16-bit D/A with output sampling rates up to 1.25 GHz. In both modes, the D/A provides interpolation factors of 2x, 4x, 8x and 16x.

PCI Express Interface

The Model 78670 includes an industry-standard interface fully compliant with PCI Express Gen. 1 & 2 bus specifications.

For more information and a price quotation on the Model 78670, click here.

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