An FPGA-based implementation of a complex video motion analysis algorithm (BDTI Optical Flow application) using Synfora’s PICO C synthesis tools outperformed a traditional DSP processor implementation on throughput by a factor over 40x achieving a processing rate of 204 frames per second and provided a 30X price/performance advantage over DSPs. The PICO implementation required fewer code modifications to the reference code than the DSP implementation to achieve the best performance.
According to the BDTI’s Optical Flow application analysis, the overall development efforts for the FPGA based system and the DSP based system were comparable even though somewhat different skill sets were required. Evaluation results for the PICO High Level Synthesis platform produced results with an area efficiency comparable to a hand-coded RTL design. On the second BDTI Work Flow, the design implemented with the PICO High Level Synthesis platform required only 6.4% of FPGA resources compared to 5.9% for the hand coded design.
To evaluate the PICO High Level Synthesis platform, BDTI used two complex DSP applications. The first is an Optical Flow video motion analysis application, which was used to compare the performance and price performance of an FPGA-based implementation using PICO C synthesis tools with an implementation on a TI TMS320 DSP using TI’s software development tool chain. The second is a wireless receiver application, which was used to compare the relative cost efficiency of an implementation obtained using the PICO C synthesis flow with a Xilinx FPGA compared to an implementation which used hand-coded RTL.
In addition, BDTI engineers using PICO C synthesis tools to independently implement designs scored the tool on a number of usability metrics including out-of-the-box experience, ease of use, the extent of modification to the reference code, skill level required, the effort required to get to a first compiling version and the total effort required.
BDTI is an independent analysis firm that employs a rigorous evaluation methodology to measure the quality of results (performance and price-performance of designs) and usability (productivity and ease-of-use) of DSPs, FPGAs, and high-level synthesis tools. BDTI benchmark suites are recognized world-wide by processor vendors and systems developers alike as a trusted means to understand the relative capabilities of embedded processing devices and tools.