By Rodger H. Hosking, PentekJanuary 18, 2007 -- dspdesignline.com
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are a tremendously exciting implementation platform. They are used to replace Application Specific ICs (ASICs), such as digital receivers, and programmable general purpose processors or DSPs.
Even though programmable logic has been around for many years, the latest generation FPGAs are more powerful and are making their way as the right solution for many embedded applications.
Each new generation of FPGA devices delivers faster speeds, improved density, larger memory resources and more flexible interfaces.
Embedded system board vendors face a difficult challenge, since each customer has a different mission unknown to the board designer at the time FPGA component selection is made. Successful new product definition requires an intimate knowledge of available device features, insights into market space application trends, and an appreciation for how FPGA resources map into those applications.
This article highlights the latest family of Xilinx FPGAs and analyzes their specific features and tradeoffs to aid engineers in selecting the most appropriate FPGA for their application needs. Comparisons of the most recent Xilinx products are provided with regards to performance, power consumption, signal integrity, serial fabrics, memory, and speed.
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