High throughput and design flexibility have positioned FPGAs as a solid silicon solution over traditional DSP devices in high-performance DSP applications like mobile base stations, medical imaging, and document imaging. In many cases, high density ASICs and DSPs appear on the same board as the FPGA. Hardware tasks, traditionally partitioned between the ASIC and FPGA, now primarily fall to FPGAs, which provide a cost-effective alternative for DSP implementation that easily can be adopted for a broad range of applications. This article tells how.

Standard-cell ASICs usually were chosen for their performance, density, complex logic designs, and cost-per-unit benefits. However, these same ASICs also increase time to market, have high development costs, and represent considerable financial risk if feature requirements change or the product doesn t hit expected volume levels.

For example, many companies suffered significant financial setbacks developing ASICs for DSP functionality as part of the cellular base station development for the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) standard; the culprits proved to be significant development changes in the standard as it was being established.

In addition to higher throughput and flexibility, FPGAs provide more raw data processing power than traditional DSP processors. Since FPGAs can be reconfigured in hardware, they offer complete hardware customization while implementing various DSP applications. FPGAs also boast features critical to key DSP applications, such as embedded memory, DSP blocks, and embedded processors

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Products & Services
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC)
Application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) are electronic chips designed for a particular application.
Video Processor Boards
Video processor boards are used to process video, medical imaging, automated optical inspection, and other related activities. They can be fitted with between one and a thousand digital signal processing (DSP) units in order to increase the computing power of the board.
DSP Boards
Digital signal processor (DSP) computer boards are central to the implementation of high-performance industrial systems. They collect and process digital data from many sources, and distribute the results to other elements of the system.
Digital Signal Processors (DSP)
Digital signal processors (DSPs) are specialized microprocessors designed specifically for digital signal processing, usually in real-time. DSPs can also be used to perform general-purpose computations, but are not optimized for this function.
Bluetooth® Chips
Bluetooth® chips are board level components which broadcast in the 2.4 GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band.

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Signatec, Inc. - PDA16 Signal Waveform Digitizer
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Altera Corporation - Cyclone V 28-nm FPGAs: Low cost, low power
Cyclone® V FPGAs combine high functionality, low system cost, and the lowest power of any 28-nm FPGA. Enhanced with integrated transceivers and hard memory controllers, they are ideal for... (read more)
Nallatech, Inc. - BenERA™: Compact PCI DIME-II™ Motherboard
With the speed, power and flexibility of DIME-II and supporting the latest FPGAs from Xilinx®, the BenERA Compact PCI (cPCI) DIME-II motherboard has been designed for ultra-high performance... (read more)
Altera Corporation - Kontron COM Express FPGA Starterkit
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Acromag, Inc. - New XMC Module with Configurable Spartan-6 FPGA
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Matrox Imaging - Supersight e2 High Performance Computing Platform
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