Cypress, Nuvation and Arrow Electronics release USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Interface Board for Altera FPGAs

June 19, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. and Nuvation Research Corp. has announced the production release of a rapid-prototyping solution that simplifies streaming video, images and other data from Altera FPGAs to a host processor at speeds up to 400 Megabytes per second.

The solution includes a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 device interface board that connects to Arrow Electronics’ BeMicro SDK (Software Development Kit), the popular FPGA evaluation platform featuring an Altera Cyclone IV FPGA. This new USB 3.0 expansion board enables BeMicro users to prototype a simpler, uncompressed, cost-effective alternative to traditional slower interfaces such as USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.

Designed to provide a seamless link out of the box, the new interface board from Cypress and Nuvation (a Cypress Platinum Design Partner) is called BeUSB 3.0, and is available exclusively from Arrow Electronics. It utilizes Cypress’s programmable EZ-USB FX3 USB 3.0 device controller to implement the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard. The interface board attaches to the BeMicro SDK and comes with a standard cable to connect to a USB 3.0 PC host, which provides up to 900 mA for bus-power. This BeUSB 3.0 board is a great vehicle to start development for systems needing high quality streaming video and imaging, data acquisition systems, and other applications that require FPGAs to interface with USB 3.0.

The EZ-USB FX3 peripheral controller on the BeUSB 3.0 expansion board is equipped with Cypress’s second generation configurable General Programmable Interface (GPIF II), capable of supporting data rates up to 400 Megabytes per second (MBps). GPIF II enables FX3 to interface directly with any processor, ASIC or FPGA by using the GPIF II Designer, a graphical user interface (GUI) tool. The easy-to-use GUI helps system designers to configure the GPIF II interface to their needs by selecting one of several popular interfaces such as asynchronous and synchronous slave FIFO or, SRAM. They can also design their own interface using an intuitive state machine canvas. The on-chip ARM9 CPU core with 512KB RAM delivers 200 MIPS of computational power for applications that require local data processing. FX3 provides highly flexible and integrated features that enable developers to add USB 3.0 connectivity to any system.

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