By Don Arbinger and Jeremy Erdmann, The Plexus Technology GroupMar 29 2006 (12:00 PM), Embedded.com
When designing an embedded solution, the designer will have product level requirements that mandate the processing of various inputs to yield predictable outputs.
There will be a number of acceptable options to choose from when selecting the type of design that will be used for the controller. The first solution is a “Discrete” microprocessor, which seem to be the most commonly used solution. The second solution is a “hard” processor core, which will be embedded in hardware as dedicated silicon in either an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) or an ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).
<>Alternatively, an embedded soft-core processor may be a viable solution where the processor is implemented in the primitives of an FPGA. The decision regarding the type of controller used is typically based on a balance between schedule, unit cost, space constraints, product lifetime, toolset, and flexibility needs.
Different options are available to a designer needing to select a microprocessor. Some options provide more benefits over others; however, not all options are a fit for every application. The key is to know what is needed for the application and then select the correct option that will suit the application. Three processing options will be briefly discussed here: the “discrete” OTS (Off the shelf) processor, a hard processor core, and finally the soft processor core.
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