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Difference FPGA with Microcontroller

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Fernando Vasquez

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what is the difference from develop an application on a FPGA vs a microcontroller or DSP. Price only?
 

vandelay

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On FPGA, you program in hardware architecture, while you program software on a microcontroller or DSP (they already have the hardware architecture implemented). Microcontrollers usually have a greater range of peripheral interfaces compared to DSP, while DSP has higher clock frequencies and extended hardware functionality (for math, etc. doing calculations hardware where microcontroller uses software emulation). You can implement a microcontroller or processor core on an FPGA, but unless you use an already-made architecture (like Xilinx's MicroBlaze), expect huge development costs. You typically use DSP for math-intensive applications, and microcontrollers where speed is not important.
 

Fernando Vasquez

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Finally i have to ask, what kind of typical applications have FPGA vs microcontroller?
 

samcheetah

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well, if you want to execute something in a sequential manner, you can do it on a microcontroller. but if you want to do alot of things in parallel, then you will have to go for an FPGA.

think of FPGA as a "sea-of-gates"; you can make those gates to act like filters, memory controllers, microcontrollers or even full blown microprocessor systems.
 
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