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Linux ready COM taps FPGA/ARM Arria 10 SoC

Jan 11, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 924 views
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Enclustra’s “Mercury+ AA1” COM runs Linux on an Altera Arria 10 FPGA/ARM hybrid with up to 8GB DDR4, up to 8GB eMMC, PCIe Gen 3, and -40 to 85°C support.

Swiss FPGA specialists Enclustra announced a Mercury+ AA1 computer-on-module built around Intel/Altera’s dual-core, Cortex-A9 Arria 10 FPGA/ARM hybrid SoC. The 74 × 54mm module is open for pre-orders, and is said to be “already in use,” suggesting it has entered the sampling stage.



Mercury+ AA1, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

We briefly noted the impending arrival of the Mercury+ AA1 module in October when we covered iWave’s rugged, 95 x 75mm Arria 10 SoC Module. In that story, we also mentioned a third Linux-friendly Arria 10 COM: the 95 x 85mm Achilles Arria 10 SoC SoM from Reflex.

The Mercury+ AA1 beats both of those modules if you’re looking for a compact footprint. It’s available in commercial 0 to 70°C and industrial, -40 to 85°C versions, and can be purchased with an optional Mercury+ PE1 baseboard (see farther below). It ships with a Linux BSP from Ant Micro featuring U-boot, documentation, and listed support for DDR3L, NAND and Quad SPI flash, USB host, and GbE. The module is also said to support Android and eCos.



Arria 10 architecture
(click image to enlarge)

The 20nm fabricated Arria 10 SoC is based on the earlier, 28nm Arria V, but runs on up to 40 percent lower power despite faster, up to 1.5GHz Cortex-A9 cores (only 1.2GHz on the Mercury+ AA1). The Arria 10 SoC also has 500MHz rather than 300MHz logic core performance compared to the Arria V SoC, which has 350LK to 462K LEs. The Arria 10 SoC offers a 2400Mbps DDR4 SDRAM interface, and an IEEE 754-compliant hard floating-point with 1,500 GFLOPS of DSP performance.

Intel’s Altera unit also offers an Arria 10 FPGA only model, which is much like the SoC, but lacks the dual ARM cores. Intel recently began sampling the Altera Stratix 10, a higher end, 14nm SoC that combines 4x Cortex-A53 cores with a beefier Stratix V level FPGA. The Stratix 10 is footprint compatible with the Arria 10 SoC.

Enclustra’s Mercury+ AA1 module offers 2GB of DDR4 ECC RAM, with expandability to 8GB. You also get up to 8GB eMMC and 64MB quad SPI flash. Other notable features include PCIe Gen3 x4 and PCIe Gen2 x8 expansion interfaces.



Mercury+ AA1 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Mercury+ AA1 is equipped with a GbE controller, as well as 12 multi-gigabit transceivers. The transceivers run at up to 10.31Gbps or 12.5Gbps, depending on the citation.

Other features available via the three 168-pin Hirose FX10 connectors include a USB 3.0 device port and a USB 2.0 host/device port. There are 286 interfaces all told, including 18 ARM peripherals, such as SPI, SDIO, CAN, I2C, UART. The 212 FPGA I/Os are listed as being “single-ended, differential or analog.”



Universal Drive Controller IP Core architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Enclustra’s COM is aimed at applications including embedded computing, data acquisition, high-speed communications, digital signal processing, image processing, and drive/motion control. It’s available with an optional Universal Drive Controller IP Core that avoids the “need for an extra drive controller chip that would consume precious PCB space and unnecessarily extend the project BOM,” says Enclustra.

 
Mercury+ PE1 baseboard

The Mercury+ AA1 COM Is available with an optional Mercury+ PE1 baseboard that supports all Mercury and Mercury+ FPGA modules. The board adopts a standard PCIe card size of 160 × 111.2mm.



Mercury+ PE1-400 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Mercury+ PE1 is available in three configurations: a Mercury PE1-200 for the FPGA-only Mercury modules, and the two that work with Mercury+ FPGA/ARM modules like the AA1: the Mercury+ PE1-300, which has one HPC connector, and the Mercury+ PEI-400, which has two LPC connectors.

The PE1-300/400 board provides a microSD slot, optional eMMC memory, a mPCIe/mSATA card holder, and a SIM card slot. Additional features include dual GbE ports, PCIe Gen2 x4, USB 3.0 device, 4x USB 2.0 host, and a micro-USB 2.0 device port.

In addition to the HPC or LPC connectors, there are various pin headers. The board has a 5 to 12V power supply, and supports extended, -25 to 85°C temperatures.

 
Further information

The Mercury+ AA1 is sampling and is available for pre-order starting at 416 Euros in volume or 724 Euros apiece, and the Mercury+ PE1 baseboard is available starting at 220 to 307 Euros. (U.S. Dollar equivalents are about the same these days.) No ship date is listed. More information may be found at Enclustra’s Mercury+ AA1 and Mercury+ PE1 product pages.
 

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