FPGAs Revolutionizing the Digital Industry: The Types and Their Functions

Field programmable gate array FPGAs is a semiconductor chip that has been programmed to any digital circuit or system. It is similar to PLDs, but unlike the PLDs, it supports thousands of gates. It is generally configured using a specific hardware description language. This kind of style is also used in application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The configuration specifies the function the chip is going to perform.

FPGAs have blocks that can be wired together, forming an inter-wired logic gate. It is because it has a hierarchy of interconnects and an array of programmable logic blocks. The logic blocks can be configured to perform simple logic gates functions like xor or complex combined functions. The memory element is mostly included in the logic blocks and can either be a significant full memory or just a simple flop memory.

A remarkable thing about the FPGAs is that they can easily be reprogrammed to perform different functions just like computer software. This makes it suitable for the following roles.

  • Development of system software using hardware
  • It can begin system performance while still at a very early phase during the development period.
  • It makes it easy to try the system by partitioning the hardware and the software system before the final freezing.

Technical Design

For complex digital computations, the field-programmable gate arrays have ram blocks and logic gates in large numbers. The design is generally made up of three modules. Each module performs different functions. The blades are the switch matrixes commonly known as the interconnection wires, the pads or the I/O blocks, and the configurable logic blocks. The functions of the architecture modules with their services are discussed below.
I/O pads are used to communicate to different apps on the outside.

The matrix can be used to switch the interconnectors or to provide direction in the logic blocks.
The configurable logic block has outputs, inputs and digital logic. Both the matrix and the CLB implement user logic.

The blocks also have a multiplexer, Look-up table (LUT), and D flip flop. LUT makes logical combinations of the system possible while the multiplexer allows for selection. The flip flop has the memory that stores the output from LUT. The LUT combinations vary starting from three to eight. This acts as a table-based function generator and with the increased advancement, a single LUT can provide two outputs at once.

The FPGAs use a very fast pad and it can become a challenge to time the communication valid data from the chip to the app. The floor of the FPGAs is well planned to ensure that resources are well allocated. The FPGAs offer the following advantages over the ASIC design, which makes the FPGAs suitable to use in many applications.

  • After shipping, it can update the functionality.
  • The engineering cost is meager and non-recurring unlike the ASIC design that has a higher unit cost.
  • The design can be partly re-configured to perform different tasks.

Types Of FPGAs Based On Applications

The field-programmable gate arrays are generally classified based on kind functions. They are classified into three general classes which are; the high-end FPGAs, the mid-range FPGAs, and the low-end FPGAs,

Low-End FPGAs

Each chip is designed with low complexity and low logic density. The small design makes the real chip power economical. Some of the most common low ends are Fusion Family, Much Xo/Ice40, Cyclone Family and Spartan Family. All this comes to form various manufactures like the Xilinx FPGA, Altera, and Lattice Semiconductor. The low end Xilinx FPGA is not designed for high performance like the high-end FPGAs.

Mid- Range FPGAs

They are in between the low end and the high end. It balances the performance and the cost of the FPGAs. All manufacturers at least manufacture the mid-range chip examples being; IGL002 from Microsemi, lattice semiconductor makes ECP3 and ECP5 while Altera produces the Arria.
The performance of the midrange is slightly better than that of the low-end chips but the functionality is not intense and the price is fair.

High-End FPGAs

The performance of these chips is high performing. They have high complexity and high logic intensity and consume a lot of power. Some popular ones include the Speedster 22 Families by The Anchronix, and The Altera Has Stratix and The Microsemi Manufactures Proasic3 Family.


The FPGAs are applied in any computable problem and they can offer the results. Because of the high number of gates present in them and the components used to make them they are significantly fast. Thus, they are preferred for any digital function. The low costs and the dynamics have shaped the FPGAs very popularly, and they are available in almost any element.
Some of the areas that they are applied include;

In Medicine

They are used to conduct an Ultrasound, an MRI, a CT scan, and even an X-ray. The systems used to view the inside of the body and to run diagnosis are computerized. The FPGAs chips are used to deliver instant results.


They are used for security measures since they are used in image processing, industrial imaging, and providing secure solutions. They accelerate the logarithms used in the systems hence providing accurate images and results. The contributions to security cannot be overlooked.

Audio Systems

They offer solutions like converting digital content into analogue, used to recognize speech, processing digital signals to give accurate results and to provide content in the modern radios that use software instead of hardware.

High-Performance Computing

Some computers need to be very high performing to complete the required tasks. For instance, those involved in bitcoin mining or the networks that act as a server or the super-fast supercomputers. The chips are used to enhance the performance of the computers so they can perform the intended function

Video & Image Processing

The systems needed to view videos like computers require a piece of specific knowledge to interpret the content so that it can be displayed to us in a form that we can perceive. The FPGAs chips advancement helps in understanding the content presented to users in a way that they can understand like in Computer Vision

Consumer Electronics

Most end electronics like the radios set-top boxes printers and even flash cartridges need memory slots or also the simple input-output feature. The chips used in these electronics rely on the information in a logical way to the system.

Wireless Communication

This is transferring information from one end to another without using any conductors. The advanced logic gates and the ram plates in the chips make it possible to genuinely move input from one location and remove it out in the position without any conductors.

The above articles give out all the information that you need to learn about FPGAs. The modern revolutionized chips have proved to be more useful than ever thought. Considering that the production cost of the chips is cheap makes them even more suitable to be used in almost every digital computer-based system. They are swift and reliable due to the noble arrangement and the presence of plenty of blocks. This makes them very efficient.

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