Embedded 3D Graphics Core for FPGA-based System-on-Chip Applications

Hans Erik Holten-Lund

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    Abstract

    This paper presents a 3D graphics accelerator core for an FPGA based system, and illustrates how to build a System-on-Chip containing a Xilinx MicroBlaze soft-core CPU and our 3D graphics accelerator core. The system is capable of running uClinux and hardware accelerated 3D graphics applications such as a VRML viewer. The 3D graphics core is connected to a PLB 64-bit on-chip bus, and can render graphics into an on-chip tile buffer, which is later copied, using bus-master DMA transfers, to the frame-buffer in external DDR SDRAM memory. This memory is shared between the CPU, the 3D graphics core, and the video display which periodically reads from memory to display the final rendered graphics. The graphics core uses internal scratch-pad memory to reduce its external bandwidth requirement, this is achieved by implementing a tile-based rendering algorithm. Reduced external bandwidth means that the power consumption is reduced as well. We show how an FPGA based embedded system is capable of most tasks in a single chip solution, without requiring additional CPU or graphics chips.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFPGAworld conference 2005
    VolumeISRN MDH-MRTC-188/2005-1-SE
    PublisherElectrum-Kista
    Publication date2005
    Pages8-13
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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