FPGA


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FPGA

FPGA

(Field Programmable Gate Array) A chip that is programmed in the field rather than in a semiconductor facility (see fab). Containing millions of logic gates, there are a variety of FPGA architectures on the market. Compared to ASIC chips custom-designed from scratch, FPGAs have a lower gate density. See gate array and Boolean logic.

Why Use FPGAs?
When hundreds of thousands of the same type of chip are required, it is generally custom designed (see ASIC). However, when a limited number are needed, FPGAs are more viable. While an ASIC is being prepared for manufacturing, interim FPGAs can be used to deliver finished products sooner. In addition, FPGAs can be used to test the market before going into full-blown ASIC production.

SRAM, Flash and Antifuse Varieties
The vast majority of FPGAs use static RAM (SRAM) cells, which are volatile. Each time it is powered up, the SRAM-based FPGA must be loaded with its configuration, typically from a flash memory chip. SRAM FPGAs can also be dynamically reconfigured (see adaptive computing). See static RAM.

Flash memory-based FPGAs hold their content without power, but they can be reprogrammed in place. Permanently programmed antifuse-based FPGAs are popular for aerospace design because they are more radiation hardened (rad hard). See PLD and adaptive computing.


An Excellent Resource
Everything you wanted to know about FPGAs and more is in Clive "Max" Maxfield's book. Written in Maxfield's inimitable style, which makes it thoroughly enjoyable, this book is the definitive guide to the subject. (Newnes, 2004, ISBN 0-7506-7604-3)
References in periodicals archive ?
Nexar also includes constraint files that map the FPGA pinout on the daughter board to the relevant NanoBoard resources, allowing easy targeting of a design for the Virtex-II Pro.
In addition to logic synthesis support, Synplicity delivers a high productivity flow from DSP algorithm to RTL implementation on the Virtex-5 SXT DSP platform FPGA with the Synplify DSP software.
1--the industry's most popular DSP software platform for FPGAs.
The 360 EC-FPGA solution verifies functional equivalence between the register transfer level (RTL) code and the post-synthesis FPGA netlist, as well as between the post-synthesis netlist and the post-place-and-route FPGA netlist.
QuickLogic's patented ViaLink FPGA configuration technology uses vias between the various metal layers for interconnect that provide 100% routability for the QL5632 FPGA fabric.
IBM, the number one ASIC manufacturer worldwide, and Xilinx, the number one PLD manufacturer worldwide with more than 15 years experience in FPGA design tools, have a productive business relationship.
Synplicity is the number one supplier of FPGA synthesis solutions and has been rated #1 in customer satisfaction by FPGA designers since 2004 through the EE Times' Annual FPGA EDA Branding Survey.
The drivers support high-speed DMA to minimize potential bottlenecks between the analog input, the FPGA and the host processor.
The Opal Kelly FPGA modules represent a critical step forward in the FPGA acceleration of PC applications," said David Pellerin, CTO and co-founder of Impulse.
The shipments today signal an important milestone for VMETRO in delivering the first stage of a wide range of products based on the Virtex-5 FPGA family," said Christian Jebsen, Chief Executive Officer of VMETRO.
Open standard BUS interface - an open architecture for being able to seamlessly interface with a variety of physical interconnect technologies from the FPGA to the bus arbiter (e.