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.
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.
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.
Bluetooth® Chips
Bluetooth® chips are board level components which broadcast in the 2.4 GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio band.

Product Announcements
Altera Corporation - SoC FPGAs
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Altera Corporation - Build Flexible, Scalable Drive Systems
Easily create integrated drive systems with Altera’s Motor Control Development Framework - optimized design flow, reference designs, IP, and hardware platforms. Start your design now. (read more)
Altera Corporation - Arria V FPGAs Balance Cost, Performance, and Power
Arria® V 28-nm FPGAs offer the lowest static power in its class, the lowest power transceivers of any mid-range family, support for serial data rates up to 10.3125 Gbps, a powerful collection of... (read more)
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)
Acromag, Inc. - New XMC Module with Configurable Spartan-6 FPGA
Targets Cost-Sensitive Embedded Computing Tasks Acromag's new XMC module employs Xilinx's cost-optimized Spartan-6 FPGA to help engineers with tight budget and time constraints solve high-speed DSP,... (read more)
Altera Corporation - Kontron COM Express FPGA Starterkit
Accelerate board development with an Intel® Atom™/Cyclone® IV kit. Easily implement multiple I/Os and evaluate board designs with Kontron's COM® Express FPGA Starterkit. Use this versatile I/O... (read more)
Data Device Corporation (DDC) - Hybrid, ASIC, or FPGA for Aerospace/Defense (CHY)
Hybrid, ASIC, or FPGA: How to Decide Which is Best for Your Aerospace or Defense Application... (read more)
Renesas Electronics Corporation - Digital Hybrid DC/DC Controllers with PMBus
Intersil’s ISL6820x digital hybrid DC/DC controllers provide POL conversions for FPGAs, DSPs, ASICs, processors and general purpose system rails. The ISL68200 with integrated MOSFET drivers can... (read more)

Topics of Interest (formely DSP Engineering magazine) is the engineer's resource for embedded digital signal processing. Our editorial content and product databases focus on DSP and FPGA hardware and...

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,...

Heterogeneous, reconfigurable DSP hardware platforms (hardware plat-forms that include both a DSP processor and an FPGA) supported by a platform-based design methodology enable traditional DSP...

FPGAs clearly provide performance and economic benefits for many applications. Traditional FPGA design tools present technical barriers for many domain experts. By employing a graphical system design...

Real-time signal processing and the applications that utilize it are continually changing the electronics landscape. This market-driven phenomenon creates a demand for greater speed, effectiveness and...