Managing signal integrity is critical for meeting or exceeding BER (Bit Error Ratio) performance specifications. Standard FR-4 printed circuit board (PCB) material can be very lossy at frequencies above 1GHz, yet, for many applications, it is a constraining choice due to its low material cost, high manufacturing yield and availability.
Stratix® II GX FPGAs simplify the challenges of designing for signal integrity by providing transceivers with the best-in-class jitter characteristics and by having advanced features in their transceivers that simplify PCB design and that compensate for inevitable board losses. The advanced signal integrity features of Stratix II GX transceivers enable 6.375 Gbps operation across 1.25m of a Molex backplane that uses FR-4 (FR-408) PCB material. These signal integrity features may also allow Stratix II GX FPGAs to operate in legacy systems at higher data rates than initially intended, and have been demonstrated to allow error free operation for over a week on 30m of PCIe cabling at 2.5Gbps.
The Stratix II GX family of FPGAs are the only devices in the industry that have the ability to automatically and continuously monitor and set the equalizer to the best eye opening for a particular high-speed interconnect. Altera’s adaptive dispersion compensation engine (ADCE) technology now allows you the possibility of having one FPGA image for all card slots in your system, reducing inventory, characterization, and factory test costs. ADCE in production can continuously monitor and compensate for manufacturing variations as well as process voltage, and temperature effects.
Signal Integrity Features of Stratix II GX Transceiver FPGAs
Table 1 provides an overview of signal integrity features in Stratix II GX FPGAs.
|Table 1. Stratix II GX Transceiver FPGAs Signal Integrity Enhancements|
|Receiver Equalization||17 dB 4-Stage Filter||
|Programmable VOD||400mV – 1400mV||
|On-Chip Termination||0, 100, 150 Differential||
Pre-emphasis, equalization and VOD are all dynamically programmable in Stratix II GX FPGAs. This allows you to change levels while the transceiver is operating, making it simpler to tune the interface for interoperability testing or change a setting depending on a board's location in a system.
Signal Integrity Features of the General FPGA Architecture
Table 2 provides a list of the signal integrity features added to Stratix II and Stratix II GX devices to support the FPGA architecture.
|Table 2. Stratix II GX FPGA Architecture Signal Integrity Enhancements|
|Dynamic Phase Alignment (DPA)||Source Synchronous I/O Operate to 1.25 Gbps||
|Enhanced SSN Support||Increase Power/Ground/Pin Ratio
Enhanced package design
More information on general FPGA architectural signal integrity issues can be found at the Signal Integrity Center.
Simulations are a key element of high-speed board design. Simulations reduce risk, reduce the need for multiple PCB revisions, and ensure the system performs at optimum speed. To support the simulation process, Altera provides models and design-in kits for leading third-party EDA simulation and PCB layout tools. The models accurately reflect the operation of the Stratix II GX device transceiver buffers, allowing users to select the correct level of pre-emphasis, equalization and VOD to meet their system requirements. Models and design-in kits include:
- IBIS Models
- SPICE Models (1)
Transceiver ELDO Model
Silicon Design in Kit for Cadence Allegro PCB SI Platform
Silicon Design in Kit for Mentor Hyperlynx Platform
Silicon Design in Kit for Mentor ICX Platform
Design-in kits are available for the Cadence Allegro platform and the Mentor Graphics® ICX and Hyperlynx tools. The kits contain validated models, topology files, layout constraints, example PCB files and footprints, tutorials, documentation, scripts, and other utilities.
(1) HSPICE models require an NDA. Please contact your local Altera® FAE to obtain HSPICE models