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- Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are semiconductor devices that are based around a matrix of configurable logic blocks (CLBs) connected via programmable interconnects. FPGAs can be reprogrammed to desired application or functionality requirements after manufacturing. This feature distinguishes FPGAs from Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), which are custom manufactured for specific design tasks. Although one-time programmable (OTP) FPGAs are available, the dominant types are SRAM based which can be reprogrammed as the design evolves.
What is the difference between an ASIC and an FPGA?
- ASIC and FPGAs have different value propositions, and they must be carefully evaluated before choosing any one over the other. Information abounds that compares the two technologies. While FPGAs used to be selected for lower speed/complexity/volume designs in the past, today’s FPGAs easily push the 500 MHz performance barrier. With unprecedented logic density increases and a host of other features, such as embedded processors, DSP blocks, clocking, and high-speed serial at ever lower price points, FPGAs are a compelling proposition for almost any type of design.
- It is an acronym for field programmable gate array. It is a semiconductor IC where a large majority of the electrical functionality inside the device can be changed; changed by the design engineer, changed during the PCB assembly process, or even changed after the equipment has been shipped to customers out in the ‘field’.
- FPGAs provide benefits to designers of many types of electronic equipment, ranging from smart energy grids, aircraft navigation, automotive driver’s assistance, medical ultrasounds and data center search engines – just to name a few.
- A Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD)
- Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs)
- one-time programmable (OTP)