Low-cost FPGA-based ADC interface reference design

The folks at Lattice Semiconductor have just announced a LatticeECP2 and LatticeECP2M (“LatticeECP2/M”) FPGA interface reference design supporting the Texas Instruments' ADS6000 family of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs).

LatticeECP2/M FPGAs provide a high-speed glueless interface capable of acquiring 14-bit ADC data at rates up to 120 MSPS from the two to four serial channels found in ADS6000 ADC family devices.

Systems migrating to higher sample rate/ resolution ADCs often require an FPGA with an interface speed of approximately 800 Mbps to bridge between existing hardware and the newer interface provided by the higher speed ADC. Previously, only more expensive, high-end FPGAs could satisfy this requirement. Now, the LatticeECP2/M FPGA family is able to provide these bridge functions in an optimally sized FPGA at a significantly lower cost. With the LatticeECP2/M FPGA devices, designers can focus on processing the ADC data within the FPGA and routing it to other parts of their system without having to worry about the timing details of high-speed ADC interfaces.

To facilitate design verification, the default configuration of the reference design utilizes a new hardware interface card developed by Lattice to work with existing TI and Lattice evaluation boards. This complete hardware/software package gives designers a working model from which they can quickly create their own custom solutions.

About the Texas Instruments ADS6000 family
The ADS6000 family consists of dual and quad, 12- and 14-bit ADCs available in speeds of 65, 80, 105 and 125 MSPS. Each device in the family delivers exceptional spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR), high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), high IF capability, and low power per channel. By incorporating single- or dual-stream serialized LVDS outputs, the devices are said to reduce board space by sixty percent compared to previous CMOS output solutions.

About the LatticeECP2/M FPGA family
The LatticeECP2/M family is claimed to provide performance and features that typically are available only on competitive, more expensive high-end FPGAs. The LatticeECP2/M family supports logic densities from 6K LUTs up to 95K LUTs, has high performance DSP blocks, supports DDR2 memory interfaces at 533 Mbps and up to 840 Mbps generic LVDS performance.

Some of the high-end features incorporated into the LatticeECP2M family include embedded SERDES I/O and the most on-chip memory in its class. The LatticeECP2M family supports up to 16 channels of embedded SERDES operating up to 3.125Gbps, as well as protocols such as PCI Express, Ethernet (1GbE and SGMII), CPRI and OBSAI. LatticeECP2M Embedded Block RAM capacity ranges from 1.2 Mbits to 5.3 Mbits.

The LatticeECP2/M and TI ADS6000 interface design platform
The TI ADC interface card, available immediately from the Lattice website, enables the interfacing of the ADS6425EVM evaluation board directly with the LatticeECP2 advanced evaluation board. The reference design uses about 5% of the FPGA logic to transfer the ADC codes on the serial source synchronous bus to its embedded block RAM memory.

Availability and pricing
The interface card, LFE2-H-IC-EV, is available immediately for sale on the Lattice website at a suggested price of $195.00.

The LatticeECP2 Advanced Evaluation board and ADS6425EVM boards are available now from Lattice and TI, respectively.

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