Microchip entry level FPGAs?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Potato Pudding, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Potato Pudding

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
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    I have been looking at some of the new stuff coming out from Microchip.

    The device feature Configurable Logic Cell looks a lot like a baby step into FPGAs.

    10F32X

    16F150X

    Yes I know! Big difference between these with only one or two cells to a real array that needs VHDL programming.

    What is interesting about these?

    Think of how many times one or two cells might be useful if they are fast enough. There might actually be a whole lot of room at the bottom of the cell count.

    Bet that these Microchip parts will be cheap and easy. I mean that in a good way.

    And the interesting bet is how many cells they will include in devices after a year or three.
     
  2. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    This is very interesting, putting an FPGA right into the processor and programming it via the processor's code. That not only steals business from the FPGA producers, but it might open up a whole new market by making processors do things they've never been capable of before. But if the chips get more complex, they'll need to become bigger (in terms of pinout) to handle more logical operations. There will also have to be additions to compilers to make use of the logical functions of the chip, which don't fit into normal ways of coding, especially totally asynchronous operation as far as the code is concerned. And just how much interaction would/should there be between the FPGA and conventional aspects?
     
  3. guitarguy12387

    Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
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    You think that's cool... check out the Zynq!

    www.xilinx.com/publications/prod_mktg/zynq7000/Product-Brief.pdf


    Dual core ARM Cortex A9 with up to 235K logic cells of FPGA fabric around it. The fabric, by the way, is configurable through using the processor. Including support for dynamic reconfiguration (which is a game changer, IMHO).

    AND, Xilinx already has fully mature and integrated software tools for every aspect of the design. Eclipse-based SDK, EDK, ISE/Planahead...

    I can't wait to get my hands on one of these. I hope they offer reasonably priced dev kits.
     
  4. Potato Pudding

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
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    Actel Smartfusion is also a blended FPGA MCU.

    I've looked into those a few times over the the past few months, but they are out of my league for now.

    No convenience or cost benefit that I can see with these yet. Nice as a forerunner of what will become mainstrem in a few generations of IC's.
     
  5. guitarguy12387

    Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
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    Ohhh forgot about those. I've actually used one of those chips on a project a while back. Their dev tools were horrendous though.

    Yeah, hard processor blocks in FPGA fabric is no new thing, I suppose. Xilinx had the PPC as early as Virtex 2 i believe.

    However, the cool thing about the zynq is the config via processor. The actel chip can't do that, i don't think. That programmable analog is cool though... never played with that before.
     
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