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January 14, 2011
Research Scientist 6 Level 2 UAHuntsville (Contractor for US Army PD-TMDE)
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News - So You Want to Learn FPGA…
about 2 years ago
I have been dealing with the big expensive mess left by an embedded use of 2 FPGA’s. For most uses the best thing to do is dedicate a micro-processor to the job. This is in fact what ARM has done with its multicore ARM chips. You dedicate a job to a processor matched to the job and do only high level decisions on the basic machine. The concept of FPGA is for the most part obsolete. The support from the Manufacturers SUCKS and BLOWS CHUNKS. The FPGA market has essentially topped out and is set for a long and miserable death.
The only exception to FPGA being a rotten idea is where you need a lot of very high speed computing where many complex computations need to be done to drive a process in single clock cycles. The hot shot processors of today such as ARM processers have pretty well doomed even this area to death. Imagine a FPGA able to compete against a very highly parallel processor. It doesn’t work.
The reason computing is so strange is few people consider that there can be a whole lot of processes going on in an FPGA at the same time. It sort of is a multi-core processor. I know that there are more details but it isn’t really any different. With the birth of the Quad Core and above ARM chips (Think Parallella.org) this advantage is gone. You always will have to deal with concurency in any machine where more than one process is going on at a time. This works like interrupts.
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