FPGA Technology Offerings: Five Things to Consider

An FPGA can be a difficult acronym to explain. It is a field programable gate array; a type of integrated circuit that performs digital functions by the user, similar to a microprocessor except it executes instructions in parallel.

The most known example of this sort of technology is the Xilinx Spartan 6 and is the pioneer of the craft.

Where You’ve Seen FPGA Technology

Birthed in 1985, these FPGAs are now commonly seen in many different places. Security systems that use image processors or password guessing technology employ FPGAs. Audio connectivity and speech recognition, too. Let’s not forget medical devices like ultrasounds, CT scans, x-rays, and MRIs all use FPGAs. For something so complex, this thing sure has quietly snuck into our daily lives and perhaps even have saved one or two.

Power Budget

A power budget is how much your processor can consume and will start us off on considerations. For example, you wouldn’t want to put a 75-watt lightbulb into a lamp that only processes 25-watts. You’d be asking too much of the lamp’s power budget. Similarly, the device’s power budget would need to be analyzed and approved for an FPGA to be operating successfully.

In-House Expertise

Adding to the list of things to analyze: your in-house expertise with HDLs and associated toolchains. HDLs, in short, tell the FPGA its functionalities. The toolchain is the interface accessed. This sort of subject is taught only briefly and in an introductory style, so finding an individual with FDGA design services underneath their belt might prove to be a trying task.

As an example, you wouldn’t want to hire someone who has experience designing refrigerators for a project designing a radar. The experience with the technology is not sufficient and shouldn’t be attempted unless poor results are desired.

The Complexity of Code Functionality

Examine the complexity of the code functionality in your device. Do you need one or four FPGAs or some other sort of technology? Asking how compartmentalized your functionality is another consideration for you!

Test Module Development

When you’re writing code for a PCB, you’re actually writing two codes. A test module and the actual code. The need for test module development is the responsibility of FPGA design services.

Expertise of Firm

Choosing the right consulting firm for your project might be daunting. Make sure the expertise level and handling of such design complexities are within reach of the firm. FPGAs are no simple feat and it will take a certain level of skill to properly execute such detailed technologies.

FPGA design services and their outputs allow for a numerous amount of digital functionalities from image processing to medical devices. What makes FPGA truly special is that it executes all of its instructions in parallel as opposed to only processing one bit of information at a time.

Outsourcing this type of work to someone with experience should be noted of significant importance. Despite years of schooling, some engineers might not find themselves truly versed in FPGAs until they’re attaining the Ph.D. or Master’s Degree. All in all, there are quite a few things to consider, but those are the top five collected for you today.

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