Opal Kelly Blog

Spartan-6 FPGA Module with SuperSpeed USB 3.0

Opal Kelly Announces Spartan-6 FPGA Module with SuperSpeed USB 3.0.

Press Coverage

FPGA Module Delivers FrontPanel API Via SuperSpeed USB 3.0, Bill Wong, Electronic Design
Opal Kelly’s XEM6310 FPGA module boasts USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Connection, Clive Maxfield, EETimes Products
Opal Kelly launches XEM6310 FPGA Module with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connection, Toni McConnel, Embedded

Press Release

Portland, Oregon – October 9, 2012 – Opal Kelly, a leading producer of powerful FPGA modules that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the XEM6310 USB 3.0 FPGA Module, which leverages the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface for downloading and communication. The XEM6310 delivers transfer rates exceeding 300MB/s – an 8-fold improvement over Opal Kelly USB 2.0 FPGA modules. Based on the powerful Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, the XEM6310 is available in two densities -LX45 and -LX150, which are footprint compatible with other Opal Kelly modules.

The Opal Kelly XEM6310 utilizes the powerful Xilinx Spartan-6. The XEM6310-LX45 is based on the Xilinx XC6SLX45 and the XEM6310-LX150 is based on the Xilinx XC6SLX150. Both modules are ideal building blocks for OEM devices where a super-fast USB 3.0 interface, a flexible hardware solution, and/or a PC software interface is required. The two new XEM6310 modules both include SuperSpeed USB 3.0 FPGA configuration and data transfer, with integrated DDR2 SDRAM, power supplies, and configuration flash. The XEM6310, as with the full range of Opal Kelly FPGA modules, leverages the powerful Opal Kelly multi-platform FrontPanel SDK and application, providing turnkey USB integration with the convenience of the FrontPanel programmer’s interface and USB drivers.

USB 3.0 offers dramatic speed improvements over the USB 2.0, from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps. An additional benefit for Opal Kelly customers is the ease-of-migration from the XEM6010 and XEM3010 modules to the new module. XEM6310 has proven to be a drop-in replacement for many applications for Opal Kelly beta testers, adding dramatic improvements in speed with very little extra engineering effort.

Beta Customer: Fibics Incorporated

Fibics Incorporated, an internationally renowned engineering firm that develops applications of Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) in the fields of materials and biological sciences and the semiconductor industry, has used Opal Kelly modules as the backbone of their systems for over half a decade. To date Fibics has used over 1,000 Opal Kelly modules in its products. Fibics has found Opal Kelly module updates to be virtually drop-in replacements, allowing them to focus on the key differentiators of their products, while still reaping the technological and speed benefits of newer FPGA and communication designs.

“The XEM6310 is a very nice piece of hardware.  It has the same capability as the XEM3010 / 6010, but is much faster with USB 3.0 – eight-to-ten times faster  – and is exactly what we needed for our product’s life cycle,” said Michael W. Phaneuf, President of Fibics.  “The release of the Opal Kelly FPGA modules with USB 3.0 come at a perfect time for us.  The new XEM6310 brings additional memory and additional speed,  while requiring only minor changes to our firmware and no physical changes to our design.  Having the speed of USB 3.0 at our fingertips, with little effort or cost difference, allows us to surpass our customers’ expectations with minimal re-engineering of our design.”

Beta Customer: Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories is using the Opal Kelly XEM6310 on a US government funded R&D project. The focus of the project is to develop a high-speed digitizer that can support multiple ADCs working in parallel and using 24-bit 4MSample/sec ADCs. This makes the ability to quickly transfer data from the system to a computer essential.  Sandia was using the Opal Kelly XEM6110 module with PCIe interface, which they had upgraded from their initial XEM3010 design.  They wanted to upgrade to the USB 3.0 for two main reasons:  First, the ability to be a true plug-and-play system with the XEM3010 would greatly facilitate testing; and second, they wanted to support more ADCs in their system.

The researchers found the XEM6310 incredibly easy to work with. They were able to move from the XEM6110 with no modifications and no need to re-spin the board. Over time, using Opal Kelly modules has provided them with many advantages, including the ability to get a high-speed interface without designing a custom board.  In addition, they leveraged the easy-to-use FrontPanel software API to speed up the software development project. They also use Opal Kelly modules to interface with several other ADCs, for telemetry data, to ensure the system is working properly. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

Beta Customer: The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide Radar Research Centre in the School of Electrical/Electronic Engineering is considering using the Opal Kelly XEM6310 for data acquisition in the development of a new multi-node polametric radar system for weather observations. They have interfaced the XEM6310 to a 16 Bit, 250MHZ ADC Evaluation board (AD9467-250EBZ) as well as other ADC Evaluation boards for potential use in future radar and phased array systems. They have previously used the XEM3010 FPGA boards for this type of application, but the data rate to the PC was often not sufficient, forcing them to buffer the data on the on-board RAM.

“Our biggest problem has always been the data rate to the PC. We usually have multiple antennas and are capturing data from multiple ADCs at the same time. The size of the data block we could capture has been limited by the memory on the FPGA,” said Matthew Trinkle, Research Engineer at the University of Adelaide. “We just dropped the XEM6310 in and it worked exactly the same as the XEM3010. We didn’t even realize we were using the new version.”

The XEM6310-LX45 is offered at $349.95 (quantity 100+) and the XEM6310-LX150 is offered at $599.95 (quantity 100+). Both are available now from the Opal Kelly online store. Each includes the Opal Kelly FrontPanel SDK and USB driver, XEM6310 User’s Manual, email support, as well as access to an active online User Forum.

About Opal Kelly

Opal Kelly, founded in 2004, offers a range of powerful, off-the-shelf, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and PCI Express FPGA modules, including the easy-to-use Opal Kelly FrontPanel software interface and robust API.  Opal Kelly products provide the essential device-to-computer interconnect for fast and efficient product prototyping, testing, development, and OEM integration.  Development engineers, researchers, teachers, and serious hobbyists, worldwide, use Opal Kelly modules for a versatile and economical interconnect solution that shortens development time, fills expertise gaps, and dramatically accelerates time to market. For more information, or to purchase Opal Kelly products, please visit www.opalkelly.com.

Press Contact

Frances Mann-Craik
Addison Marketing