Differences between FPGA and uC's?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by maxpower097, Jan 9, 2011.

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  1. maxpower097

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  2. thatoneguy

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    Feb 19, 2009
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    FPGAs allow an entire xx bit microprocessor to be created. They typically have high triple digit pins for I/O, and thousands/millions of logic cells that allow anything from a PONG Game with VGA output to an extremely high speed DSP. Programming is done with VHDL or other "logic gate languge". A FPGA can be made to "act like" a microcontroller minus a few features, though it is a waste of an FPGA since the equivalent uC is a dollar or two.

    Microcontrollers generally work with 8 bit data, though some are 16 and 32 bit. Packages are under 100 pins, typically under 50. Speeds are lower, but many built in peripherals exist, such as USB, Ethernet, ADC, etc. Very little to zero external hardware is needed to get going with a uC, a small amount of RAM is onboard, as well as analog and digital I/O. Programming is assembly language to C or BASIC. This is a tad of a misnomer, as some Xilinx devices offer ADC and other peripherals now as well.

    Each have their place in the world, uC's (not microprocessors, uPs), are great for control and "simpler apps". FPGA also run "Simple Apps", but are specialized to do that simple app extremely quickly. Microprocessors (uP) are "General Purpose" devices, which require a great deal of support components to be an effective device.

    GENERALLY: uCs run in the Mhz range, while FPGA and uPs run in the GHz ranges.

    I hope that helped a bit, unsure if it answered your question or not.
     
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  3. maxpower097

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