Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by mbaseman, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. mbaseman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm new to this forum and to electronics in general. I am interested to know the difference between MCU devices (like PICs, etc) and digital devices (like the ones made by Altera). Can anyone explain this to me in layman's terms?
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    Here is a summary taken from http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-fpga-and-microcontroller/

    differencebetween.com is a good resource to get your education on.

    Here is the page for differences between FPGA and CPLD.
    The summary is a good place to start, then read the page from the beginning. Well, thats what I do.. ;)
    kingdano likes this.
  3. kingdano


    Apr 14, 2010

    A key difference between the two being that everything in an FPGA/CPLD can be programmed/wired to occur in parallel operation - whereas in a microcontroller everything MUST happen sequentially.

    FPGAs/CPLDs are used where i work for operations that require great clocking speed and fast response time - microcontrollers are used to drive electromechanical devices (where i work) which would not benefit from the fast response time of the FPGA/CPLD architecture.
  4. dsp_redux

    Active Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    You can build a uC equivalent with an FPGA by programming an ALU, Program Counter, Stack Counter, etc... into it. FPGAs require a lot mot "brain work" but depending on the application, might reach treatement speed much higher than with a conventional uC.