BittWare S56X Ruggedised 2x Altera Intel Stratix V GX/GS 6U VPX, 2x VITA 57 FMC – Sky Blue Microsystems GmbH

BittWare S56X | Dual Intel Stratix V GX/GS FPGAs | 6U VPX | 8GB | Dual VITA 57 FMC | Ruggedised for Mission Critical Applications

BittWare’s S5-6U-VPX (S56X) is a rugged 6U VPX card based on the high-bandwidth, power-efficient Intel Stratix V GX/GS FPGA. Designed for high-end applications, the Stratix V provides a high level of system integration and flexibility for I/O, routing, and processing. An ARM® Cortex™-A8 control processor provides a complete control plane interface; and a configurable 48-port multi-gigabit transceiver interface supports a variety of protocols, including Serial RapidIO, PCI Express, and 10GigE. The board features up to 8 GB of DDR3 SDRAM as well as Flash memory for booting the FPGAs. Providing additional flexibility are two VITA 57 FMC sites for enhancing the board’s I/O and processing capabilities. The S56X also features a Board Management Controller (BMC) for advanced system monitoring, which greatly simplifies platform management. All of these features combine to make the S56X a versatile and efficient solution for creating and deploying high-performance FPGA computing systems.

The Intel Stratix V FPGA is optimized for high-performance, high-bandwidth applications with integrated transceivers (up to 14.1 Gbps) supporting backplanes and optical modules. It supports 1.6 Tbps of serial switching capability and up to 3,926 18 x 18 variable precision multipliers. The Stratix V also provides PCI Express via a hard IP block and supports configuration by PCI Express using the existing PCI Express link in your application. For additional flexibility, the Stratix V supports transceiver and core reconfiguration on-the-fly while other portions of the design are running. TThe FPGA is supported by BittWare’s FPGA Development Kit, which provides board support IP and integration.

An ARM Cortex-A8 control processor provides a complete control plane interface for the S56X, facilitating separate control and data planes, and greatly simplifying the development of data plane I/O and processing. This is implemented in a 800 MHz TI AM3871 ARM processor running Linux. The ARM runs BittWorks server for full remote access via the BittWorks II Toolkit.

The S56X features two FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) sites, which provide multi-gigabit transceivers and LVDS, along with clocks, I2C, JTAG, and reset connected to the Stratix V. The sites are based on the VITA 57 mezzanine standard for FPGA I/O, enabling designers to customize the S56X to their individual needs with optional FMC I/O boards.

Rugged Intel Stratix V GX/GS 6U VPX Board with two VITA-57 FMC I/O Sites


BittWare designs products for both commercial (convection cooled) and rugged (conduction cooled) applications. Our philosophy separates the architecture and design approach between these two market spaces to ensure that the stringent requirements of a ruggedised design are addressed from inception.

Mission critical applications require that certain product design considerations – thermal, vibration, and temperature – are a priority from inception, not after-the-fact. BittWare prides itself on its expertise and ability to architect and design extended temperature/ruggedized products for military/defense applications. In no instance is a commercial product simply modified for implementation in a rugged application.

High-Speed Networking and I/O

The S56X provides a variety of interfaces for high-speed serial I/O as well as debug support. The rear panel VPX interface includes GigE and 32 multi-gigabit transceiver channels to the Stratix V FPGAs. In addition, a Cyclone III FPGA is used to interface 48 LVDS and 20 GPIO from the VPX backplane to the Stratix V FPGAs. A utility header provides access to USB, RS-232, JTAG, and Ethernet interfaces for debug and programming support.


The S5PE-F features an extremely flexible memory configuration, with two SODIMM sites that support DDR3 SDRAM, RLDRAM3, and QDRII+. Memory card options include the following: up to 8 GBytes of DDR3 with optional error-correcting codes (ECC); up to 36 MBytes QDRII+ (2 banks x18); or up to 512 MBytes RLDRAM3 (2 banks x18). RLDRAM3 is a high-performance memory targeted for systems requiring high bandwidth and low latency. The board also provides Flash memory for storing multiple FPGA images.

Board Management Controller

This boards’s advanced system monitoring subsystem features a Board Management Controller (BMC), which accepts Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) messaging protocol commands.

The BMC features include control of power and resets, monitoring of board sensors, FPGA boot loader, voltage overrides, configuration of programmable clocks, access to I2C bus components, field upgrades, and IPMI messaging.

Access to the BMC is via PCIe or USB. BittWare’s BittWorks II Toolkit also provides utilities and libraries for communicating with the BMC components at a higher, more abstract level, allowing developers to remotely monitor the state of the board.

BittWorks II Toolkit

BittWare offers complete software support for this card with its BittWorks II software tools. The BittWorks II Toolkit serves as the main interface between the BittWare board and the host system. The Toolkit includes drivers, libraries, utilities, and example projects for accessing, integrating, and developing applications for the BittWare board.

FPGA Development Kit

BittWare’s FPGA DevKit provides FPGA board support IP and integration for BittWare’s Altera FPGA-based boards. The FDK includes FPGA components that provide preconfigured physical interfaces, infrastructure, and examples, drastically cutting development time and easily integrating into existing FPGA development environments.

Working example projects are available for each board which illustrate how to move data between the board’s different interfaces. Supported interfaces include DDR4, DDR3, DDR2, QDR2/+, PCIe, 10GbE, LVDS, SerDes, and Double Data Rate I/O. All example projects are available on BittWare’s Developer Site.

BittWare S56X accelerator diagram showing hardware elements e.g. 2x VITA 57 FMC sites, 16 multi-gigabit transceivers, 48 LVDS pairs, and RS-232, Ethernet, JTAG interfaces.
Hardware accelerator diagram: BittWare S56X with two VITA 57 FMC sites.

Product Data

BittWare S56X is a VPX 6U single slot card with two high density Stratix V GX/GS FPGAs and 800 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 control processor.
S56X is VPX 6U single slot card with two high density Stratix V GX/GS FPGAs.
BittWorks II Toolkit include BwMonitor app provides a view into the board management capabilities like live board power and temperature display of BittWare hardware.
BwMonitor is a part of the BittWorks II Toolkit: provides live board power and temperature display of BittWare hardware.