As FPGAs take over the data center, system-level architects require technical support over the entire high-speed serial channel data path. FPGA vendors like Xilinx are working with interconnect partners like Samtec to emulate next generation data center architectures in their FPGA evaluation, development and characterization kits.
As an example, the Xilinx Virtex® UltraScaleTM FPGA VCU110 Development Kit features the ExaMAX® high-speed backplane connector system. Pairing these solutions together provides a platform for demonstrating 28 Gbps performance from an FPGA over a backplane.
Samtec now offers a number of unique VCU110-based platforms for testing and demonstrating both ExaMAX® High-Speed Backplane Connector and Cable Solutions.
VCU110 ExaMAX® Loopback Card
The VCU110 ExaMAX® Loopback Card routes 8 GTY MGTs from the Xilinx Virtex® UltraScaleTM FPGA through the ExaMAX® mated connector pair and back to the FPGA. Four GTY loopback channels contain little or no insertion loss.
The summation of VCU110 insertion loss and the engineered loss on four additional GTY loopback channels satisfies the IEEE 802.3bj insertion loss requirements. The combined solution enables evaluation and development of routing FPGA transceivers in a table-top environment.
VCU110 ExaMAX® Backplane Cable Demonstration
The VCU110 contains one EBTF-RA series ExaMAX® 2.00 mm Right-Angle Receptacle (J116). This provides easy access to 8 GTY MGTs from the FPGA on the VCU110.
Interest in backplane solutions continues to grow for data center applications. Samtec’s new EBCM series ExaMAX® Backplane Cable Header improves signal integrity by flying critical high-speed signals over or under PCBs and intermates with all ExaMAX® connectors.
Samtec has developed prototype EBCM series cable assemblies that can mate directly to the VCU110 via connector J116. This provides an easy-to-use platform for evaluating the performance of the ExaMAX® Backplane Cable solutions.
Xilinx makes evaluating and monitoring their transceivers easy via their IBERT software available in their Vivado Design Suite. The tool provides some great output via eye diagrams, data rates, BER and other crucial SI data.
Samtec’s prototype EBCM cable assemblies as shown above contain about ~24″ of ultra-low skew twinax cable in a loopback configuration. Using IBERT, the cable assemblies achieved open eye patterns below at 28 Gbps across eight channels.
For more information on these and other evaluation and development platforms or to request an on-site demo, please contact our technical experts at KitsAndBoards@samtec.com.