What is an FPGA in VLSI?
FPGA in VLSI stands for ‘Field Programmable Gate Array’, which is an integrated circuit that may be programmed to execute a tailored function for a particular purpose. FPGAs have become highly popular in the VLSI area. The code for FPGA programming is written in languages like VHDL and Verilog.
Architectural Design of FPGA in VLSI:
FPGA is made up of thousands of basic pieces known as Configurable Logic Blocks (CLBs) that are surrounded by a system of programmable interconnects known as a fabric that distributes signals between CLBs and I/O blocks, which link the FPGA to external devices. Multiplexers, Full Adders, D flip flops, and a lookup table (LUT) make up the Logic Component, which is the basic building block of FPGA in VLSI. For each given source of input, LUTs decide the output. LUTs with 4-6 input bits are common, and after testing, they can even go up to 8 bits. The output of the LUT is stored in a D flip flop.
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FPGAs are divided into several categories:
FPGA in VLSI is categorized into the following categories based on their applications:
- Low-End FPGAs: They use less power and are less complicated due to the lower number of gates.
- Mid-Range FPGAs: They use more power and have more gates than low-end FPGAs, making them more sophisticated. They maintain a balance between cost and performance.
- High-End FPGAs: With a higher gate density than mid-range FPGA in VLSI, they are more complicated. Some High-End FPGAs outperform low-end and mid-range FPGAs in terms of performance.
Benefits of FPGA in VLSI:
- FPGAs in VLSI give higher performance than a standard CPU because they are capable of parallel computing.
- FPGAs are reprogrammable and cost-effective.
- FPGAs allow you to complete product development in a short amount of time, allowing you to get your product to market faster.
Disadvantages of FPGA in VLSI:
- FPGAs use a lot of power and programmers have no control over power optimization;
- FPGA programming is not as straightforward as C programming;
- They are only used in low-volume production.
Applications of FPGA in VLSI:
FPGAs are used in defense equipment for image processing in SDRs, ASIC prototypes, high-performance computers, wireless communication systems such as WiMAX, WCDMA, and others, and in medical equipment for diagnosis and therapy. They are also found in consumer devices, such as flat-panel displays and household set-top boxes.
What is the need of an FPGA in VLSI?
FPGAs are widely used in quick prototyping and verification of conceptual designs, as well as in electrical systems when mask-production of a bespoke IC becomes prohibitively expensive owing to low volume. In addition to their utility, as previously stated, their internal structure makes them an excellent vehicle for learning all aspects of VLSI design, as they contain combinational logic in the form of LUTs (look-up tables), sequential building blocks in the form of flip-flops, and memory for programmability.
VLSI design necessitates meticulous planning throughout the design process, with a focus on floorplanning, layout, routing, transistor size, clock and power distribution, and timing analysis. All of these concepts of VLSI design apply to the design of a basic FPGA that was created as an individual project in a VLSI class.
FPGA in VLSI was programmed to create a traffic light controller. The design process was a highly valuable tool for learning about VLSI design because it included all parts of a complicated VLSI design.
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