September 15, 2005 -- Although board designers have for years used FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) to interconnect system components, the latest high-density devices are powerful enough to also replace the processors, memory, custom logic, and many peripherals of a typical embedded-system project. These new system-level or platform FPGAs allow designers to create standard hardware designs that they can tweak as new requirements emerge or that they can reconfigure for different applications.
For high-performance projects with parallel computation requirements, a single platform-FPGA-board design may replace a chassis full of conventional computer boards. Yet, with the amazing capabilities of these new devices, designers must carefully analyze performance, power, and cost boundaries to determine when FPGA designs make sense.
By Warren Webb, EDN Technical Editor
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.