Aloka’s ProSound alpha 10 high-end ultrasound diagnostic system utilizes Xilinx Virtex-4 SX EasyPath FPGAs. The EasyPath FPGA conversion-free cost reduction path enabled Aloka to ramp to volume production in just 12 weeks following design freeze. Because EasyPath FPGAs are identical to standard FPGAs, Aloka was also able to avoid the high cost of system requalification that would have been required with an ASIC. Each ProSound alpha 10 system incorporates multiple Xilinx Virtex-4 SX devices using EasyPath technology.
The Virtex-4 SX devices are used primarily to transmit/receive focused data in the ProSound alpha 10. The ultrasound system displays real-time tomographic images of internal organs for accurate diagnosis. Displaying high-resolution ultrasound images requires precise focus of ultrasound beams, which is accomplished through high-speed, high-resolution processing of data received across dozens of channels. To reduce the cost of this functionality, Aloka selected EasyPath FPGAs over an ASIC solution.
EasyPath FPGAs were chosen over an ASIC alternative based on their conversion-free cost reduction path that provides the lowest total cost while offering 100 percent support for “Hard IP” including high performance DSP multipliers. The shift from an ASIC approach to a programmable architecture allowed Aloka to integrate a wide range of circuits into a single chip while reducing the number of system components and provided flexibility throughout the design process to refine specifications all the way up to volume production.