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FPGA Device Selection
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FPGA Device Selection

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How to choose the right device for FPGAs

How to choose the right device for FPGAs

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FPGA Device Selection FPGA Device Selection Presentation Transcript

  • FPGA Device Selection How to choose the device that is right for you? By FPGA Central © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Selecting The Right FPGA
    • In this presentation we will review various factors that effect the device selection of a FPGA or CPLD in a project.
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Overview
    • Selecting the right device is very important and can impact your overall success of the project, including:
      • Technical feasibility
        • A technical roadblock can jeopardize the entire project
      • Schedule
      • Cost
        • Design Cost (Time, Tools, IP)
        • Per device cost
    • It is important to look at these much before the design starts.
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Know what you want
    • What external interfaces you need ?
      • PCIe, I2C, SPI4.2, Interlaken etc
    • How many pins do you need ?
      • Single ended, Differential, Serdes
    • What IO standards are required ?
      • LVCMOS 2.5V, HSTL I, LVDS etc
    • What functionality you want to achieve ?
    • What frequency you need to run the design?
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Specify The Requirements
    • Group the requirements into the following:
      • # of LUTs/LE , FF, DSP Block, RAM bits
      • # of IOs for each voltage level
        • 3.3v, 2.5v, 1.8v etc
      • # of Clock pins, PLL/DLL/DCM , Clock Buffers (regional or global) required
      • Hard macro requirements
        • Hard macros like PCIe, Ethernet MAC, Serdes, Processors etc are getting popular. Find out if you require to use any of these (separate must from nice to have)
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Know The Vendors
    • Xilinx, Altera, Lattice, Actel are few major FPGA vendors with Xilinx & Altera having 85% of the market share
    • Many other vendors including startups like SiliconBlue should not be ignored
    • A complete list of various FPGA vendors can be found at
      • http://www.fpgacentral.com/vendor/directory?filter0=3
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Know The Devices
    • Spend time to learn about the vendor devices.
    • FPGA vendors usually provide a Device Product Table which provides the capability of each device that they offer. Usually:
      • # of LUT/LEs, FF, Serdes, User IO, RAM bits
      • Package types & Size
    • It is recommended to go with the latest released product (As it will be supported longest)
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Device Product Table
    • Some of these tables are located at
      • http://www.xilinx.com/publications/prod_mktg/Virtex6_Product_Table.pdf
      • http://www.altera.com/products/devices/stratix-fpgas/stratix-iv/overview/stxiv-overview.html
      • http://www.latticesemi.com/products/fpga/ecp3/index.cfm
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal FPGA Central offers FREE service to help you in selecting a device. If you would like support in selecting the right FPGA contact us via http://www.fpgacentral.com/find
  • Isolate Devices
    • Based on the requirements gathered, isolate anywhere between 2 to 4 devices
    • Quick tips:
      • Keep room for future expansion (aka feature crap), bug fixes
      • Keep the utilization under 80%. Having a full FPGA makes meeting timing much more challenging
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Compare Devices… 1
    • Once you have isolated few devices, compare them based on:
      • Resource utilization (LE, FF, RAM, IO, hard Macro etc)
      • # of IO banks available vs # of various voltage level required
      • Frequency of operation
      • Power
        • vendors provide tools to measure power – usually excel tools
      • Package size Vs Amount of space on the board
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Compare Devices… 2
      • Cost
        • TIP: Cost varies based on speed grades and quantity so negotiate with the vendor
      • IP available (either via FPGA vendor or 3 rd party) and the cost associated
        • Using pre-validated IPs makes the design time shorter and reduces risks/un-know in the design
    • TIP
      • Ask for characterization data for critical interfaces and IPs.
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Select Device
    • Now you should be able to choose a device based on above criteria. Some times you will have a clear winner over the other. But many times you would find more then one solution which is best for you. In those cases, choose the device and vendor which you are most comfortable with.
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Further considerations
    • You should also consider the following criteria:
      • Support (Silicon & IP)
      • EDA Tools support
      • Configuration PROM and programming times
      • Option to migrate to smaller or bigger die (in case you need less logic or more).
      • ECC or Parity protection on RAMs
      • SEU – Single Event Upset (Defines MTBF)
      • Number of power supply required (usually multiple)
      • What devices/IP your team have worked on in the past
    © FPGACentral.com – World’s 1 st FPGA Portal
  • Thank You & Good Luck Choosing the Device Go to www.fpgacentral.com/find to get FREE help Selecting the right Device/ IP