Case for low-cost FPGAs

July 2, 2007

It is said that there is an increased adoption of programmable logic in more applications. And that, development costs of alternative technologies such as ASIC and ASSP continue to rise. Does this make a case for low-cost FPGAs? Altera seems to believe in this.

According to the company, when Altera created the low-cost FPGA market with the introduction of its Cyclone FPGAs, the consumer product market in Taiwan became a primary focus.

Its contention is worth noting. Needs of consumers change rapidly. Low-cost FPGAs are , in this scenario, said to be the best vehicle to reduce time-to-market and bring a product to market quickly, besides go in for high-volume production immediately, if required.

According to the company, changes to product specifications can occur via FPGA, even as a product is in the market. There’s probably no need to to do a redesign. Now, this would save significant time and cost, and allow market advantage.

We have just done reports on Altera, who have introduced the Arria GX family of low-cost, transceiver-based FPGAs that support PCI Express (x1 and x4), Gigabit Ethernet and Serial RapidIO standards at speeds up to 2.5Gbps.

Close by, Xilinx allows expanding FPGA development options with its ISE 9.2i design tools. This is said to have easy-to-use, built-in tools and wizards that make I/O assignment, power analysis, timing-driven design closure, and HDL simulation quick and intuitive.

The ISE 9.2i release claims to reduce memory requirements by an average of 27 percent, while providing expanded support for MS Windows Vista, XP x64, and Red Hat Enterprise WS 5.0 32-bit and 64-bit OS, respectively.

Definitely, both are worth a look, as the low-cost FPGA scenario seems to hot up!

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