FPGAs Becoming More SoC-Like

  • Ann Steffora Mutschler, 4th Jun 2018

FPGAs are blinged-out rockstars compared to their former selves. No longer just a collection of look-up tables (LUTs) and registers, FPGAs have moved well beyond into now being architectures for system exploration and vehicles for proving a design architecture for future ASICs.

Anush Mohandass, VP of marketing and business development at NetSpeed, discusses the variety of design possibilities, in this Semiconductor Engineering article:

https://semiengineering.com/fpgas-becoming-more-soc-like/

Anush: “If you roll back time, it was just a bunch of LUTs and registers, instead of gates. They had a classical problem. If you take a general-purpose anything and compare it to an application-specific version of it, the general-purpose compute will give a lot more flexibility, while the application-specific one will give some performance or efficiency benefits. Xilinx and Altera tried to marry this more and more, where they took note that practically every FPGA customer had a DSP and some form of compute. So they put in Arm cores, they put in DSP cores, they put in all of the different PHYs and commonly used stuff. And they hardened it, which makes it a lot more efficient, and the performance profile becomes better.”

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