Question on Xilinx VirtexProII PCMCIA support (FPGA boards).... please

Question on Xilinx VirtexProII PCMCIA support (FPGA boards).... please

Post by Mark Levitsk » Tue, 02 Nov 2004 20:56:14



I posted here before and got excellent responses, could you knowledgeable
people also answer a simple questuion below?  If you reply by email, REMOVE
"SPAMNOMORE" in capital letters repeated in my address twice (edit address
manually)!!

We need to make sure Xilinx VirtexProII FPGA boards have a PCMCIA interface
(hardware) and software support, and whether inteface is a regular one
usable with standard IEEE802.11 cards (WIRELESS LAN modules).  The two
boards (need info for BOTH!!) are:
ML 300 and ML310
One is just a board another is a complete development kit, I am not sure
yet.

I did contact Xilinx first, but here's what happened:
At first Xilinx engineers said PCMCIA is not supported, but then came back
to me saying this:
ML300 board: the PCMCIA supported, whereas PCI is supported only with much
more effort on our side.  ML310 board: The opposite (i.e. the PCI is
supported, while the PCMCIA is not fully supported.)
Thus we're completely confused and need to double check these answers,
before comitting time/money.  I CAN"T CONTACT THEM ANYMORE FOR THE SAME
QUESTION AS MY XILINX PERSONAL ID HAS ALREADY BEEN USED FOR THE SAME
QUESTION, I'd appreciate if you help.

 
 
 

Question on Xilinx VirtexProII PCMCIA support (FPGA boards).... please

Post by Geir Frode Raanes S?rense » Wed, 03 Nov 2004 18:39:20


:
: We need to make sure Xilinx VirtexProII FPGA boards have a PCMCIA interface
: (hardware) and software support, and whether inteface is a regular one
: usable with standard IEEE802.11 cards (WIRELESS LAN modules).  

Point one: Do you know the difference between PCMCIA, CardBus and PC-Card?
This is essential, so stay with me here:

PCMCIA is just ISA plus autoconfiguration (No, not PnP) and slot spesific
addressing. There are no WiFi 802.11 cards on PCMCIA bus that I know of,
though there used to be some NE2000 based 10Base-TX PCMCIA cards out there.
PCMCIA has its roots in som Japaneese SRAM card, but became PCMCIA in the
IBM-PC based Laptop. For this reason it resembles the 16 bit ISA bus it
was hosted on and derived from.

CardBus OTOH is just PCI plus hotswap capabilities in the same form factor
that governs PCMCIA. This physical form factor with its 68 pin socket is
known as PC-Card. All WiFi PC-Cards I know of utilize this 32 bit CardBus
interface.

CardBus and PCMCIA bus can and do coexist on modern laptop sockets, but
in general not on embedded targets. CardBus will in general be derived
from a PCI host bus. I.e: No PCI 'above' the PC-Card socket, then no
CardBus. And vice versa for PCMCIA. CardBus controllers for PC Laptops
from eg. Texas Instruments contain a full PCI-to-ISA bridge to maintain
backwards PCMCIA compatibility on the same PC-Card socket it offers
CardBus on. Again, this is highly unlikely on embedded targets.

In addition, you have to know that CompactFlash is just a shrinked down
PCMCIA bus. Just like IDE(ATA) is a shrinked down ISA bus. Compactflash
looses some addressing capabilities and fit in a much smaller 50 pin
socket but is in essence still an PCMCIA device.

The CompactFlash card has to present itself as an ATA disk by means of
PCMCIA autoconfiguration. There is little to stop you from presenting
anything else that might fit an PCMCIA bus on the CompactFlash interface
during autoconfiguration. This is why you can get WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS/
whatever cards that fit the CompactFlash socket, even though hard to
come by.

: The two  boards (need info for BOTH!!) are:
: ML 300 and ML310

As far as I am able to determine from a quick glance, both contain an
so-called SystemACE that is connected directly to the FPGA and hence not
hosted on the PCI bus. In addition, both ML300 and ML310 seems to sport
an 50 pin _Compat Flash_ connector, not the full 68 pin PCMCIA connector.
See explanation above.

But how about plugging an desktop PC style CardBus socket hosted on a
PCI card into the ML310 PCI bus and attach your WiFi card into this?
These PCI cards should be easy to come by. Or use a PCI based WiFi card.

--
  ******************************************************
  Never ever underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  -Robert Anson Heinlein


  ******************************************************

 
 
 

1. Question on Xilinx VirtexPro II FPGA chip... please

I'd appreciate if someone could answer a few questions below:  If you reply
by email, REMOVE "SPAMNOMORE" in capital letters repeated in my address
twice (edit address manually)!!

We ordered "Xilinx Virtex-Pro II" development kit, your answers will NOT
change buying decisions - its already here, we need to know:
1. Is it possible to put either Linux or Nucleus RTOS into this chip memory,
to my knowledge your chip includes two PowerPC's and we intend to use it as
a host?  Note we need to know if either OS can be loaded, not both, we will
experiment with Linux and then Nucleus RTOS (Nucleus RTOS is Realtime
Operating System from AcceleratedTechnology/MentorGraphics Corporation, for
Xilinx FPGA's embedded design).

2. If yes, when Linux or Nucleus RTOS is loaded, will we get communications
stack and drivers for IEEE 802.11 in ad-hoc mode (this as any EE Engineer
knows is a wireless LAN standard)?

3. If yes, then we'll purchase a standard IEEE 802.11 card, can this card be
plugged into your development kit port?  From what I gathered from my
professor, he intends to plug this card into your "serial port", but seems
strange to me.

4. Maybe you can suggest additional Xilinx products to use in our IEEE
802.11 wireless communications project (ad-hoc mode)?

VirtexPro II development kit is already here and I was asked to research the
above information to start design.

Thanks for your time.

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