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FPGA/CPLD vs uC / uP based embedded system

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by kunil, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. kunil

    kunil Guest

    Just courious, when you're faced with new embedded design, what
    criteria that you use to select the design base (FPGA/CPLD based or
    microcontroller/microprocessor based)?

    What projects is good for FPGA/CPLD and what projects is good for
    microprocessor/microcontroller ?

    Is there any good reference on this ?

    Thank You
    kunil, Aug 24, 2005
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  2. Just as sidenote: There are also mixed systems.
    Those how have a cpu and an FPGA/CPLD.
    Yes, there are cpu cores for FPGA. Ever tried
    those tools ? the compiler, debugger ?
    I don't intend to put them down. I never tried
    yet. I'd take me at least a month to have a closer

    As to the advantage of a mixed setup :
    You have the cpu and the tools you're familiar with
    plus you get a configurable digital hardware that
    can do timing stuff, that the cpu cannot.

    Rene Tschaggelar, Aug 24, 2005
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  3. As with anything...
    * Cost (development, manufacture/unit)
    * Time (development effort)

    FPGA's are useful for logic that is too proprietory/complex to use COTS
    parts, or high-speed logic that just won't cut it in software. Or
    perhaps there are several functions that would require a selection of
    COTS parts but would fit nicely into a single FPGA. Or perhaps
    real-estate is critical.

    A few random thoughts...

    If you're looking to glue a few small peripherals onto a small micro,
    then I'd suggest you go down the uC/uP path. It'll probably be cheaper
    and require much less development effort.

    If you have some (more complex or high speed) logic that could benefit
    from a bit of software (to reduce development complexity) then perhaps
    an FPGA with embedded soft uC is the go.

    Is there scope for the design to evolve - will an FPGA provide a
    platform that allows firmware-only upgrades to functionality?

    Then you need to look at manufacturing - how does the FPGA compare with
    uC/uP solutions in terms of PCB requirements (layout, layers) and SMD
    technologies (eg. BGA)? Should it be servicable in the field? What's the
    lifetime of this product (can you still get the same FPGA in 10 years?).
    How much will the unit cost to make?

    And there's always - want to learn something new and have some fun? ;)

    Mark McDougall, Aug 25, 2005
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