Fast Start-up for Spartan-6 FPGAs using Dynamic Partial Reconfiguration.
ABSTRACT This paper introduces the first available tool flow for Dynamic Partial Reconfiguration on the Spartan-6 family. In addition, the paper proposes a new configuration method called Fast Start-up targeting modern FPGA architectures, where the FPGA is configured in two-steps, instead of using a single (monolithic) full device configuration. In this novel approach, only the timing-critical modules are loaded at power-up using the first high-priority bitstream, while the non-timing critical modules are loaded afterwards. This two-step or prioritized FPGA start-up is used in order to meet the extremely tight startup timing specifications found in many modern applications, like PCI-express or automotive applications. Finally, the developed tool flow and methods for Fast Start-up have been used and tested to implement a CAN-based automotive ECU on a Spartan-6 evaluation board (i.e., SP605). By using this novel approach, it was possible to decrease the initial bitstream size and hence, achieve a configuration time speed-up of up to 4.5×, when compared to a standard configuration solution.