Software based or hardware based display controller?

I'm designing a device that can display high resolution (at least 1080i o

1280x1024) images to a LCD monitor. I don't think that much 2D/3 acceleration is needed for this purpose.

Lower hardware cost is the first priority, although ease of development i important too.

What is the best route?

  1. Microprocessor only, to run embedded Linux and software-based displa controller

  1. Microprocessor + FPGA/ASIC display controller

  2. Microprocessor with built-in display controller? Does it exist?

Please point me a direction, thanks!

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I think you will have great difficulty getting the realtime performance tightly enough controlled to drive such a high-bandwidth display directly in software. In fact I should say I don't think it's feasible.

If you use a big FPGA that can integrate the micro core as well as the display controller (e.g. Virtex4), it will be very expensive. If you use a separate micro with an external FPGA performing only the display functions it will be considerably cheaper, though not exactly a weekend project to get it working.

The cheapest and simplest solution will be to use a micro with built- in display controller. However SXGA is at the upper limit of resolutions typically supported by these parts. You should also be prepared to have a significant performance hit in such a shared-memory architecture because a large proportion of the RAM bandwidth is being eaten by the display DMA.

For anything that specs such a huge resolution, I would automatically go down the PC VGA chipset route.

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Are you doing something like a Device Driver ?

I think you are into both hardware and software(Driver) development for displaying high resolution images .

I think, you need not have any RTOS / other OS for this.

FPGA with sufficient RAM, ROM and DMA will be a good choice as you can tune it to your own interest.

Yes, They exist.

Karthik Balaguru

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