FPGAs are versatile tools for programmable electronics, but if you are just looking to do a bit of prototyping then some of the more popular FPGA boards could well be overkill for your needs.
The good news is there are many affordable FPGA devices, including models from Xilinx, which can be used for basic hobbyist applications and even for commercial prototyping and proof of concepts.
Compare The Products For Best Deal
Both Xilinx and Actel offer affordable, low end FPGAs which can be used for basic modelling and programming work. Compare this to some of the other products by companies such as LabView and you will find that you have a completely different price range to deal with.
High Performance And Funcionality
To an extent, you get what you pay for with FPGAs, but you should note that it’s hard to compare models like for like, because simple Mhz ratings aren’t enough to give you an idea of what an FPGA can do. Rather, you should be looking at how the device will perform for the specific functionality that you want it to have. Is it versatile enough to get the job done? Can it handle the kinds of inputs that you will be giving it, and the outputs too?
FPGA With An ARM Chip
There are some great boards which combine an FPGA with an ARM chip, so that you can enjoy parallel processing power and all of the features that you need to get good performance and to make good customisable, high performance devices.
It may take some experimentation and testing to find the perfect electronic components. If you want something that you can use in a production environment, make sure that it will do the job that you need – test one board, and then from there buy bulk if you need. There are some boards that are in the sub $100 range which are incredibly versatile and which will perform well for most applications. You would struggle to get something similar to the Cortex devices in price range as a good FPGA these days, but there are some interesting options out there that are almost as affordable, and that will give you the versatility that you would expect of an FPGA. If you want something fast and simple that does not require initializing every time you turn it on, then a processor based board might well be a better option for your development work. It depends on your project goals. Get to know more about Direct Components Inc – Spartan.