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The Xilinx Virtex family of FPGAs provides the ability to perform partial run-time reconfiguration, also known as dynamic partial reconfiguration (DPR). Taking this concept one step further, partial dynamic self-reconfiguration becomes possible through the internal configuration access port (ICAP). In this paper a framework for lowering reconfiguration times using the combitgen tool to reduce the overhead found within bitstreams, along with a completely new, very simple and area efficient ICAP controller that is connected directly to the processor local bus (PLB) and is equipped with direct memory access (DMA) capabilities is presented. Using this PLB Master ICAP controller, it is possible to reach the maximum practical throughput that can be achieved with the ICAP interface of Virtex-II Pro devices. Compared to an alternative realization using the OPBHWICAP provided by Xilinx (a slave attachment on the on-chip peripheral bus), it is possible to achieve improvements concerning reconfiguration times by a factor of 20.
Date of Conference: 26-30 March 2007