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Partner: BittWare Taps Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 3 for New RFX-8440 PCIe Analog Card

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Editor’s Note: This content is contributed by Craig Petrie, VP marketing at BittWare


Available in a PCIe® form factor, BittWare’s RFX-8440 4-channel digital acquisition card leverages the latest generation Xilinx® Zynq® UltraScale+™ RFSoC Gen 3. The card is designed for both development and deployment with extensive expansion options, and RF-ADC/RF-DAC features to match a range of customer applications such as 5G, LTE wireless, phased array Radar, and satellite communications.

RFX-mockup.pngA Flexible and Compact Solution
Flexibility is found throughout the design, starting with the analog front-end, which features variable gain control RF-ADCs and RF-DACs down to -40 dBm. Four channels of RF-ADCs are sampled at 14-bit resolution and 5.0 GSPS, with the RF-DACs at 14 bits and 10.0 GSPS. The analog circuitry is optimized for L-band by default, but ready for other configurations as required (the Zynq RFSoC can address up to 6GHz). Sophisticated clock management and control circuitry enable single and multi-card synchronization for scaled systems.
At the heart of the card is the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC (a.k.a Zynq RFSoC) Gen 3 single-chip adaptable radio platform. The Zynq RFSoC is a comprehensive multi-gigasample RF processing system with impressive features like dual Arm® processors in addition to programmable logic. By using a single chip approach, the RFX-8440 eliminates power- and space-hungry discrete components—providing direct RF sampling and moving the A/D and D/A conversion process closer to the sensor—adding flexibility and programmability.



Expansion and Deployment
The RFX-8440 is a versatile data acquisition card that can be deployed in various modes of operation. The first is the ability to operate in stand-alone mode without the need for a host platform. The embedded Arm processor subsystem of the Zynq RFSoC is used to run embedded operating systems. This approach minimizes the size, weight, and power (SWaP) since only a simple enclosure is required to house all the electronics.
The second scenario is deployment in a BittWare TeraBox™ pre-integrated edge server platform such as the Dell-based 200DE – a short-depth, NEBS-compliant 2U server. The RFX-8440 takes care of the data acquisition and immediate digital signal processing required to process the vast data ingress. Additional FPGA-based sensor processing resources are available through direct coupling at 200Gb/s to an adjacent BittWare accelerator such as the 250-SoC (with the RFX-440 available as a single slot passive for a two-slot solution). This introduces a PCIe host interface, two 100GbE network ports, and the ability to record to NVMe flash storage arrays directly. Announced earlier this year, BittWare’s 100G Data Capture and Recorder reference designs are excellent options for customers to stream data to/from the storage array.
No matter how customers choose to configure the RFX-8440, they will be building their application on an enterprise-class platform. The advantage of development and deployment on the same hardware can reduce risk and time-to-market as the customer’s program is validated.



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