Actel RTAX Space FPGAs Feature DSP Capabilities

Acknowledging the increasing need for signal processing throughput without sacrificing reliability or radiation capabilities, Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced it has added sophisticated digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities to its industry-leading, radiation-tolerant FPGA technology for space-flight applications. The RTAX-DSP family uniquely combines Actel’s successful radiation-tolerant RTAX-S FPGA fabric with a high-speed multiply-accumulate (MAC) capability on a single chip. An attractive alternative to costly and complex SRAM-based, DSP-enabled FPGAs or radiation-hardened application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), the RTAX-DSP devices are protected against single-event upsets (SEUs) and offer total signal processing capability in excess of 15 billion multiplications per second.

“With the introduction of the RTAX-DSP FPGAs for space flight, we are enabling designers to meet their signal processing performance goals without sacrificing reliability or project schedules. Alternatives, such as SRAM-based FPGAs and radiation-hardened ASICs, incur cost, board-space, system complexity, and project schedule risks,” said Ken O’Neill, director of high-reliability marketing for Actel. “Further, compared to SRAM FPGAs, RTAX-DSP devices enable designers to achieve their design and performance goals with fewer devices, thereby saving board space, mass, and power consumption.”

There are two RTAX-DSP devices — the four-million gate RTAX4000D and the two-million gate RTAX2000D. The larger of the two devices features 120 DSP mathblocks, each capable of performing 18-bit x 18-bit multiplications in excess of 125 MHz over the entire military-temperature range (-55°C to 125°C). The two-million-gate RTAX2000D features 64 DSP mathblocks, giving a total signal processing capability in excess of eight billion multiplications per second. These signal processing rates make RTAX-DSP suitable for implementing DSP functions such as FIR and IIR filtering, FFT, IFT and DCT transforms in applications such as radio communication in spacecraft command and data handling systems and communications payloads, imaging and radar systems.

Unique to the RTAX-DSP devices, mathblocks feature built-in mitigation against single-event upsets and single-event transients, which could otherwise occur due to heavy ion radiation in space. Further, the RTAX-DSP devices are immune to radiation-induced configuration upsets, unlike SRAM-based FPGAs, which require costly and complex user-instantiated triple-chip redundancy.

Availability
Rigorous testing of the RTAX4000D and RTAX2000D devices toward Mil-Std 883 Class B qualification is expected to be complete in 2009. The RTAX2000D will be offered in 1,152-pin CCGA and LGA packages, while the RTAX4000D will be offered in 1,272-pin CCGA and LGA packages. Both devices are pin compatible with their RTAX-S counterparts, and will support the same IP. For further information about pricing and availability, please contact Actel.

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