Current FPGA Technologies

5.1 Introduction

By describing the details of the various technologies in the previous chapter, it becomes clear that the choice of the specific technology, and the resulting design approach implied by the technology, indicates the level of performance that will be able to be achieved for the specific DSP system under consideration. For example, the use of simple DSP microcontrollers implies a DSP system with relatively low performance requirements, and indicates that the user needs to produce C or C++ code as a source for its implementation. However, it is possible that the user can employ Matlab® or Labview as not only the initial design environment to scope the requirements such as wordlength or number representation for the system, but also to use the design approach and its available software routines, to produce the actual DSP source code for the microcontroller. Whilst it could be argued that the quality of the code produced by such approaches can be inefficient, it is quite possible that it is sufficient to meet the performance requirements of the applications, whilst still using a practical, i.e. low-cost, microcontroller, thus, meeting cost requirements as well, by reducing design time.

This design approach can be applied for the full range of ‘processor’ style platforms, but it may be required that dedicated handcrafted C code is produced, to achieve the necessary performance. This is probably particularly relevant in applications where performance ...

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