What are the FPGA selection strategies ?

FPGA is one of the three cornerstones of digital circuits. The quality of its selection determines the cost of the product, the efficiency of project research and development, the time to market, and the life cycle of the product. FPGA selection strategies can be divided into FPGA manufacturer selection, FPGA device family selection, device model selection, and FPGA package selection

What are the FPGA selection strategies

1. FPGA device manufacturer selection

We choose models based on the technical proficiency or preferences of the company’s existing design team or project team. For example, if the team is using Xilinx or Intel FPGA, we choose from these two manufacturers; another point is that the product needs to have certain features FPGA, such as aerospace level, at this time, Microsemi FPGA will be more suitable.

2. FPGA device family selection

FPGA manufacturers have launched targeted products for different application fields. FPGA device families vary greatly in terms of scale, cost, I/O voltage, performance and application goals. At this time, we need to make decisions according to project requirements, technical requirements and project budget. trade off.

3. Device model selection

Once the device family is determined, it is necessary to collect and carefully read the relevant technical information of the manufacturer, and contact the manufacturer’s technical support personnel to confirm the availability of the selected model, evaluate the product life cycle, and confirm the technical difficulties. It is necessary to select devices with high product maturity as much as possible. The specific selection should consider: internal logic speed, device cost, logic resource scale, power consumption, user I/O quantity, internal PLL quantity, embedded RAM quantity, DSP resources, etc.

For project requirements, how to choose FPGA devices with many resources is a more complicated issue, especially for new algorithm applications, it is challenging for FPGA logic designers. Here are three suggestions:

First, for the scenarios of FPGA logic functions or modules that have been applied, such as Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, etc., its resource occupancy has been applied in existing products, so it can be used as a reference for new device selection (note that different device families may slightly different) 

Second, for some algorithms (IP such as DDS, FIR, etc.) or interface IP (such as PCIe, SRIO, etc.), Xilinx or Intel FPGA manufacturers will give corresponding resource usage estimates, which can also be used as a reference;

Third, for new algorithm applications, we can divide the algorithm into modules or sub-modules, and classify them into lower-level resources such as embedded RAM, DSP IP core, adder, PLL, etc., and then perform resource evaluation.


4. FPGA package selection

When choosing a device package, the portability of the device is an important consideration. Some FPGAs provide devices with different resources, packages and pins that are fully compatible, which facilitates product upgrades.

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