What do I need to know about FPGA?

We are a company with a reputation for supplying various programming products to customers all over the world. Among them are our starter kits. Anyone who has bought from us previously will confirm the quality of our goods. At the same time, they shall tell you how effective our online shopping service is.

One of the kits we offer is the FPGA variation. This is ideal for Cyclone II and Altera Cyclone devices. Before you begin using them though, you should know more about FPGA itself.

Entering into this subject can prove somewhat confusing for anyone who has never touched upon it before. Not to mention, the answers to all the basic questions are all over the internet. This does not exactly help matters because there are a lot of different opinions. Thankfully, we have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to FPGA’s.

What is FPGA?

This is an integrated circuit that you can configure repeatedly. You can do this to carry out separate tasks as you need to. For instance, you can set an FPGA to act as a processor. Afterwards, you can reconfigure it to operate as a hardware video encoder or a graphics processing unit. In theory, you can program them to work as any other Digital Integrated Circuit.

If you order one of our FPGA starter kits it will include everything you need to start programming.

How does it work?

Now that you know what FPGA is, we will reveal how it works to you. It is best to think of it as a huge breadboard for digital circuit. All the flip-flops and gates exist on the FPGA. Furthermore, there are wires passing through the finished chip. You make circuits by linking the wires to the relevant flip-flops or gates. This is the intended design.

Instead of connecting the flip-flops/gates with a physical wire like in a breadboard, FPGAs possess programmable interconnects. You can rewire these programmatically. Dedicated routes/wires exist for clock signals. Only specific FPGA pins are capable of driving the global clock routing wires too.

What language do I use to program FPGA?

The designs that run on FPGAs are primarily coded using hardware description languages. Examples include SystemVerilog, VHDL, and Verilog. These are among the most popular languages but others do exist.

One increasingly common programming strategy is using High-Level Synthesis. Here, you complete the design in a subset of C. Moreover, the compiler changes the design into the right Verilog code.

Code written in the languages mentioned earlier are synthesised and transfigured into propriety interconnect description via synthesis tools. Normally, the output file that holds the interconnect description is called a bitstream. You program this to the FPGA.

What are the programming limits?

You are probably wondering how many times you can program FPGAs as well. With SRAM based ones, you can program them as many times as you need to. Until your device suffers with out-of-spec conditions, there are no limits. Specific flash-based FPGAs could possess a set max programming cycle endurance. Due to the number of different models of FPGA, a smart idea would be to go through the data sheet in detail for authoritative information.

Order quality starter kits

At Kanda, customers can choose from a collection of kits, including a selection of FPGA. This includes the USB Altera Cyclone and Altera EP4C NIOS II kits. A kit is a great place to start and includes everything you need. We also have lots of useful resources on our website.

If you would like to know more about our starter kits, you are welcome to contact us. We can guide you to choosing the right products.

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