April 9, 2014 -- Video-processing specialist OmniTek has released an enhanced and universal version of its Multi-Channel Streaming DMA Controller FPGA IP-core for transferring streaming data such as video across a PCIe interface. The new version of the core is available to registered users on the company’s website and will be demonstrated on the OmniTek booth at the NAB Show.
The feature of OmniTek’s DMA Controller that makes it ideal for handling streaming data is the FIFO-based form of DMA that it offers alongside traditional memory-based DMA. This ‘FDMA’ mode has been developed by OmniTek specifically to handle streaming data. The controller has also been designed to make transfers over the PCIe interface highly efficient through strategies such as pre-fetching Scatter-Gather descriptors, optimizing back-to-back packing of TLP packets, and supporting multiple outstanding read requests.
The DMA Controller is intended for use in system designs built around an FPGA that includes a built-in PCIe engine. Initially, just Gen1 or Gen2 PCIe engines were supported but the new release extends this support to Gen3 PCIe engines such as that offered on the Altera Stratix V. However, the key enhancement in the new version of the DMA Controller is its adaption for software control through a novel software interface framework – also specially developed by OmniTek – that makes applications for FPGA-based architectures both quick to create and easy to port between different implementations of a system design. By working in accordance with OmniTek’s FPGA Software Interface Framework, the same application software can be used to drive versions of the same basic system design that offer different numbers of DMA channels and/or different channel configurations. This means there is no need for different application software for systems running Windows and Linux.
This adaptability is particularly useful where the components of a system design are still being developed or where different possible configurations are being evaluated. Previously, software developers could expect to re-write whole sections of kernel mode code whenever the firmware engineers produced a new version of their code. Where OmniTek’s new FPGA Software Interface Framework is used, not only is the appropriate kernel mode code assembled automatically when the firmware is compiled, but the interface offered to this code makes for seamless handling of different numbers and different configurations of system components. As a result, applications only need to be re-written where system features change or where there is a radical change in system architecture.
Versions of the core are now available for both Xilinx and Altera FPGAs. For ease of incorporation with other Xilinx IP, the versions for Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs are equipped with AXI4 interfaces and scripts for use with Xilinx’s Vivado Design Suite. Similarly, the versions of the DMA Controller for Altera Arria, Cyclone and Stratix FPGAs offer Avalon-MM interfaces for standard DMA transfers, Avalon-ST interfaces for streaming DMA transfers and Qsys scripts for implementing the core. OmniTek also offer a consultancy service, specializing in the development of video systems and image processing systems for a variety of different applications.
The features of the new Multi-Channel Streaming DMA Controller will be demonstrated in use on OmniTek’s booth (Booth N1523) at the NAB Show in April. Registered users of earlier versions of OmniTek’s Multi-Channel Streaming DMA Controller core can download a copy of the new version from the Downloads page of the OmniTek website www.omnitek.tv.