Fascinating Facts About Altera FPGA That Enables Functional Enhancements

Saturday, July 14, 2018, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

FPGA or Field Programmable Gate Array has taken the electrical industry by storm. It is a commonly used device in electronic circuits.

FPGA is a semiconductor device that contains interconnection circuits and programmable logic blocks. The FPGA can be reprogrammed or programmed to the needed functionality after manufacturing.

The FPGA Architecture

The FPGA Architecture has three key components namely,

  • The Programmable Logic Blocks– It offers storage elements and necessary computation required in digital systems. The underlying logic element comprises of programmable combinational logic, fast carry logic and a flip-flop for delaying cost and reducing area.

    The modern FPGAs from Altera contain a heterogeneous blend of various blocks such as dedicated memory blocks and multiplexers. The configuration memory is utilized all through the logic blocks for controlling the specific purpose of each element.

  • The Programmable Routing– This routing will help in establishing a connection amid the logic blocks as well as the Output/Input blocks for completing a design unit that is user-defined.

    The Programmable Routing comprises of tri-state buffers, and multiplexers pass transistors. The multiplexers and pass transistors are utilized in logic clusters for connecting the logic components.

  • The Programmable I/O– These pads are utilized for interfacing the logic blocks as well as routing architecture to every external component.

    In fact, the I/O pad coupled with the surrounding logic circuits will create an I/O cell. Such cells consume a considerable part of the area of the FPGA.

FPGA Technology and Its Multiple Benefits

The latest FPGA from Altera will offer you a plethora of benefits namely,

  • Performance– Reaping the perks of hardware parallelism, the FPGA technology from Altera has succeeded in surpassing the computing power of DSPs (digital signal processors) by breaking the standard of sequential execution as well as accomplishing more in every clock cycle.

    Controlling inputs and also outputs at the hardware stage will offer specialized functionality and faster response times to match the application needs closely.

  • Time to Market– The FPGA technology from Altera will offer flexibility and prompt prototyping capacities keeping at par with the rising time-to-market concerns. The best part is you can now test a concept or idea and verify the same in hardware devoid of all the hassle of the lengthy fabrication procedure of a custom ASIC design.

    Besides you are also capable of implementing incremental changes and also iterating on FPGA designs in a few hours rather than weeks. The COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) hardware is also accessible with various forms of inputs and outputs that are connected already to the FPGA’s user-programmable chip. This high-level software tool is readily available as a result of which it helps to decrease the learning curve using layers of abstraction as well as often provides valuable IP cores for signal processing and advanced control.

  • Cost– The NRE (non-recurring engineering) expense of the ASIC design exceeds the hardware solutions that are FPGA based. The massive cost involved in ASICs is indeed easy in justifying for OEMs shipping many chips every year, yet many end users require hardware functionality that is custom made for the many systems in development.

    In fact, the nature of the silicon that is programmable means there is no fabrication cost involved or higher lead times in case of assembly. As the system needs changes time and again, the price required to make incremental amends to the designs of FPGA is negligible when you compare it with the enormous investments required to re-spin an ASIC.

  • Reliability– The FPGA circuitry is challenging program execution. Often a process-based system includes different layers of abstraction for scheduling tasks and sharing resources amid multiple processes.

    It is the driver layer that controls the hardware resources while the OS looks after the processor bandwidth and memory. Be it any processor core; just a single instruction will execute at a moment while the systems that are processor-based are at risk.

    The FPGA that does not make use of the OS will help in minimizing the reliability concerns with deterministic hardware and accurate parallel execution dedicated to each task.

  • Enduring Maintenance– The chips in the FPGA are field-upgraded so does not need the expense and time involved in case of the ASIC redesign. For instance, the digital communication has specifications which with time can change while ASIC based interfaces will cause forward compatibility challenges and maintenance.

    The FPGA chips being reconfigurable can keep at par with future modifications which may be necessary. With the maturity of a system or product, you will be capable of making functional improvements without wasting time to redesign the hardware or modify the layout of the board.

  • Digital communication protocols, for example, have specifications that can change over time, and ASIC-based interfaces may cause maintenance and forward-compatibility challenges.

    Being reconfigurable, FPGA chips can keep up with future modifications that might be necessary. As a product or system matures, you can make functional enhancements without spending time redesigning hardware or modifying the board layout.

In short, an FPGA is akin to a kit comprising of logic chips that can be wired together just the way you desire. There is nothing for controlling the speed limit of the logic. Change the input, and you will see the output changing right away.

In usual practice, you will come across registers and clocks holding the data so that outputs will change after a couple of clock cycles. An essential part of the FPGA is in allowing engineers in making complex digital systems devoid of obtaining and wiring a bundle of chips and investing money and time to design a new one.

FPGA excels for prototyping as the interconnections of the logic units can easily be changed and also in case of small-run specialized products like exotic scientific instruments, communications equipment requiring fast DSP and even control systems for industrial machines.

A microcontroller or a microprocessor, in contrast, is akin to a robot that has a strict and limited vocabulary. Here things are accomplished by copying bits, utilizing the bits for accessing memory and pushing the bits via an ALU with results obtained after millions of steps.

Owing to the long list of benefits that it offers and its growing demand, Direct Components now stocks Altera FPGA, so make the most of it.

Throw us a like at Facebook.com/doable.finance

Post a Comment on Content of the Article


This is not a billboard for your advertisement. Make comments on the content else your comments would be deleted promptly.

CommentLuv badge