New Trends in FPGA Development: Convergence and Complementarity

With the continuous development and innovation of FPGA technology, the integration of RISC processor and FPGA, the integration and optimization of the two systems, and the combination of FPGA and ARM core to achieve functional complementarity have become the development trend of a new generation of FPGAs.

New Trends in FPGA Development: Convergence and Complementarity

Today, FPGA technology is in a period of rapid development. The scale of the chip is getting larger and larger, the integration level is getting higher and higher, the speed is continuously improving, the performance is continuously improving, and the power consumption is getting lower and lower. With its powerful parallel signal processing capability, FPGA has a strong advantage in dealing with operations with low control complexity and large amount of data.

However, in the implementation of complex algorithms, FPGAs are far less flexible and convenient than 32-bit reduced instruction set computer (RISC) processors, so when designing systems with complex algorithms and control logic, RISC and FPGA are often used in combination. In this way, the difficulty of circuit design increases accordingly.

RISC and FPGA combine into a development trend

The RISC processor is integrated with the FPGA, which reduces the complexity and volume of the hardware circuit, reduces power consumption, and improves reliability.

The continuous development and innovation of FPGA technology enables the integration of RISC processors and FPGAs, which greatly reduces the complexity and volume of hardware circuits, reduces power consumption, and improves system reliability. The fusion and optimization of the two systems has become a new generation of The development trend of FPGA.

In 2020, FPGA manufacturers Xilinx and Altera have teamed up with British ARM to target next-generation consumer electronics, automotive and industrial electronics applications, and launched their respective FPGA-embedded ARM hard-core embedded processor architectures.

Different from the traditional embedded microprocessor concept, the ARM-based FPGA single-chip system effectively improves the speed and stability of signal transmission between systems through the internal high-speed bus, and gets rid of the limitation of the PCB wiring line width on the signal bandwidth. While reducing the complexity of PCB layout and routing, the chip size is greatly reduced. As the best choice for high-performance, low-cost coprocessors, FPGAs provide the space for hardware acceleration for processors.

At the same time, the huge programmable logic resources and flexible reconfiguration capabilities of FPGA enable the system-on-chip to perform software and hardware upgrades internally, which solves the cost problem of replacing external devices caused by upgrading system functions.

As the first step into the field of embedded systems, Altera and Xilinx (Xilinx) have successfully integrated the system-on-chip hard core into programmable logic. Among them, Xilinx only cooperates with ARM, while Altera provides more kinds of embedded hard cores.

However, the combination of the two systems can be optimized and tailored according to the actual application requirements. Altera and Xilinx proposed a scalable processor platform with ARM as the core in 2011. The programmable logic is integrated in the ARM system only as an accessible hardware resource.

Compared with previous ARM processors, this scalable embedded platform has the function of dynamically configuring programmable logic, which can increase processor speed and expand processor cache capacity when needed. In terms of the interface between FPGA and ARM system, the ARM system with programmable logic proposed by Xilinx solves the bandwidth problem encountered in the solution of embedding FPGA into ARM core.

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