S. Lamonnier, M. Thoris, M. Ambielle, Sagem DS (Safran Group)
EETimes (5/26/2012 12:39 PM EDT)
In many modern applications such as video processing, minimizing FPGA reconfiguration time is critical in order to avoid losing too many images. Partial reconfiguration is a technique that allows users to reconfigure a small part of the FPGA without impacting logical elements around it. For the human eye to see an image without flicker, the reconfiguration time must be less than 40 milliseconds. That’s very little time to reconfigure an entire device, save for the smallest FPGAs; and in certain specific applications, this reconfiguration time must be even less. Hence the appeal of partial reconfiguration: Because a partial bitstream is smaller than a full one, it takes less time to reconfigure.
At Sagem DS, we have devised a technique that allows FPGA designers to accomplish partial reconfiguration very fast. The ML507  was the Xilinx reference board we used for testing and validating the solution and to measure timing. Typically, the components on this board are a Virtex-5 FPGA (XC5VFX70T-FFG1136), a CPLD (used as a routing component) and two XCF32P memories (Xilinx Platform Flash).
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