Intel® Arria® 10 or Intel® Cyclone® 10 GX Avalon® Memory-Mapped (Avalon-MM) DMA Interface for PCI Express* Solutions User Guide

ID 683425
Date 6/03/2021
Document Table of Contents

2. Getting Started with the Avalon-MM DMA

You can download this Platform Designer design example, ep_g3x8_avmm256_integrated.qsys, from the <install_dir>/ ip/altera/altera_pcie/altera_pcie_a10_ed/example_design/a10 directory.

The design example includes the following components:

Avalon-MM DMA for PCI Express

This IP core includes highly efficient DMA Read and DMA Write modules. The DMA Read and Write modules effectively move large blocks of data between the PCI Express address domain and the Avalon-MM address domain using burst data transfers. Depending on the configuration you select, the DMA Read and DMA Write modules use either a 128- or 256-bit Avalon-MM datapath.

In addition to high performance data transfer, the DMA Read and DMA Write modules ensure that the requests on the PCI link adhere to the PCI Express Base Specification, 3.0. The DMA Read and Write engines also perform the following functions:

  • Divide the original request into multiple requests to avoid crossing 4KByte boundaries.
  • Divide the original request into multiple requests to ensure that the maximum payload size is equal to or smaller than the maximum payload size for write requests and maximum read request size for read requests.
  • Supports out-of-order completions when the original request is divided into multiple requests to adhere to the read request size. The Read Completions can come back in any order. The Read DMA Avalon-MM master port supports out-of-order Completions by writing the Read Completions to the correct locations. The Read DMA Avalon® -MM master port does not have an internal reordering buffer.

Using the DMA Read and DMA Write modules, you can specify descriptor entry table entries with large payloads.

On-Chip Memory IP core

This IP core stores the DMA data. This memory has a 256-bit data width.

Descriptor Controller

The Descriptor Controller manages the Read DMA and Write DMA modules. Host software programs the Descriptor Controller internal registers with the location of the descriptor table. The Descriptor Controller instructs the Read DMA module to copy the entire table to its internal FIFO. It then pushes the table entries to DMA Read or DMA Write modules to transfer data. The Descriptor Controller also sends DMA status upstream via an Avalon-MM TX slave port.

In this example design the Descriptor Controller parameter, Instantiate internal descriptor controller, is on. Consequently, the Descriptor Controller is integrated into the Avalon-MM DMA bridge as shown in the figure below. Embedding the Descriptor Controller in the Avalon-MM DMA bridge simplifies the design. If you plan to replace the Descriptor Controller IP core with your own implementation, do not turn on the Instantiate internal descriptor controller in the parameter editor when parameterizing the IP core.

The Descriptor Controller supports the following features:
  • A single duplex channel.
  • Minimum transfer size of one dword (4 bytes).
  • Maximum transfer size of 1 M (1024 * 1024) - 4 bytes.
    Note: Although the Descriptor Controller supports a maximum transfer size of (1 M (1024 * 1024) - 4 bytes), the on-chip memory in this design example is smaller. Consequently, this design example cannot handle the maximum transfer size.
  • Endpoints, only.
  • Provides status to host software by generating an MSI interrupt when the DMA transfer completes.
Figure 2. Block Diagram of the Intel® Arria® 10 or Intel® Cyclone® 10 GX Avalon-MM DMA for PCI Express

Design Example Limitations

This design example is intended to show basic DMA functionality. It is not a substitute for a robust verification testbench. If you modify this testbench, be sure to verify that the modifications result in the correct behavior.