USB 3.0 Superspeed interface for FPGA



With BeastLink your software communicates super fast with your FPGA design.

The CESYS BeastLink allows developers to implement high-performance FPGA-Host communication and various services using a USB 3.0 interface. The BeastLink was created from the Cesys UDK. It enables communication between a PC and an AXI4 interconnect using a Cypress FX-3 controller.
The BeastLink is optionally available in source code for easy adaption to your special needs.

key features

  • USB 3.0 superspeed interface
  • address-based bi-directional data communication
  • only a few simple API calls on the PC side necessary
  • provides standard AXI4 interconnect on the FPGA side
  • data rate up to 320 MByte/s 
  • FPGA configuration and management are already included
  • support for multiple languages and multiple operating systems
  • long-time availability and support

properties & qualities

Core API

The BeastLink Core API is available for Linux and Windows 7/10.

It supports

  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • .Net
  • JVM



Pseudocode Example

 // Find devices 

// Configure FPGA

// Peripherals are mapped to addresses
    BlockRAM = 0x60000000
    DDR3RAM = 0x00000000
    Flash = 0x80000000

// Communicate with Peripherals
    Data = ['H', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o', ' ', 'W', 'o', 'r', 'l', 'd']
    writeBlock(BlockRAM, Data)
    writeBlock(DDR3RAM + 0x0000100, Data)

BeastLink at work

When a BeastLink compatible board is connected to the PC, the firmware loads into the FX-3 controller. This happens automatically in the background and has not to be initiated by your software.

Then your software can enumerate the board and determine a bitfile that represents the FPGA design. The firmware in the FX-3 controller will configure the FPGA with the specified file.

Now, the system is ready to transfer data. The Read and Write calls of the API are translated into blocks of data that are interchanged between the FX-3 controller and the API. The FX-3 slave-Fifo interface is connected to the IO signals of the BeastLink IP core which translates the read and write commands coded in the data blocks into AXI4 read and write cycles.

Components included 

  • Core-API
  • FX-3 Firmware
  • FPGA IP core
  • FPGA Reference Design
  • Reference Software
  • Background Service software
  • Board Manager tool
  • Performance Monitor tool
  • Detailed Documentation

Available Editions

  • Free Edition

The Cesys EFM-03 BeastBoard comes with a free copy of Beastlink. The free edition does not contain source code and may only be used together with the CESYS EFM-03 board.

  • Pro Edition

If you want to use BeastLink with a third party FPGA board, need to have full control over all used software or want to modify the code, you can purchase a package of all BeastLink source code files.
The source code package also includes production support software that writes the desired VID/PID into the flash memory during board production. It provides the necessary files to install the appropriate USB driver for our own board as well.

maximum throughput or minimal latency

The BeastLink only requires very small protocol overhead and thus allows maximal user-data throughput and minimal latency. Tweak the size of the blocks to trade throughput against latency for the results required by your project.

Further information

specifications and datasheets can be found in our download area.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact our support hotline via email or call us.

design-in support

We have great interest in ensuring that your project is successful. That is why we will give great effort to assist you. We will answer questions that you ask in our support-forum as soon as possible because sometimes, it's the little things that stop you.

How to order

Product: BeastLink PRO Edition
Order code: C028407

This product is not available in our online-shop.
To receive an offer please send your request to:

Essential hardware requirements

If you plan to use BeastLink PRO Edition with your own hardware, please check if the necessary hardware requirements are met. These include the use of the Cypress FX-3 as a USB 3.0 bridge controller and the provision of the slave-FIFO PCLK via an FPGA pin. Further requirements can be found in the BeastLink documentation.



What is included in the BeastBoard PRO Edition ?

To use BeastLink with compatible 3rd party boards (i.e. customer-made boards based on Cesys boards), the PRO Edition is available.
It includes:

  • FX3 firmware source code
  • source code of the FX-3 <--> AXI4 bridge IP core. 
  • core API source code
  • source code of the UDK3 performance monitor
  • source code of the UDK3 board manager
  • source code of service software
  • complete schematics of the EFM-03 BeastBoard in PDF Format.
  • documentation of the source codes and the build process

Development as a service

We port your existing design to the EFM-03 BeastBoard and create IP-cores according to your specifications.
We are the right partner for you, from supporting your team with partial tasks to the complete development of your product.
You think your request is too specific or difficult? Maybe we've already done something similar. Just ask us.

For further Infomation please contact

technical information

Andreas Doll
technical lead

availability & prices

Julia Gelsebach
commercial lead