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XC3S50A-4TQG144I is a Spartan-3A FPGA with 5 Functional Elements

A Field Programable Gate Array (FPGA) is a type of embeddable Integrated Circuit (IC), used to enable the reconfiguration and further optimization of consumer electronics. The choice of the ideal FPGA lies with the overall functionality, the extent of the configuration and the use cases or target applications.

An important consideration when choosing an FPGA is the series it belongs to. The manufacturer is also another important factor to consider. These two are viable with the XC3S50A-4TQG144I and that is why we recommended it as a good buy for any FPGA lover.

The Spartan-3A Series

As one of the FPGA devices in the Spartan-3A series, XC3S50A-4TQG144I inherits most of the attributes therein. The Spartan-3A is a series of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) manufactured by Xilinx, now a part of AMD.

These FPGAs are known for the extended components, the wide range of supported applications and the cost-effectiveness. These are core attributes that consumers look for when making a buying decision.

At the core of the Spartan-3A FPGA series is the overall innovation it brings to circuit board designs. It serves as a better replacement for ASICs. Unlike ASICs, it makes the design and configuration process flexible – something that most ASICs don’t offer.

The Spartan-3A FPGA Series also boast of shorter development cycles or timeframes. Therefore, it is possible to have the target devices or applications configured in the shortest time possible.

Another seeming advantage that this FPGA series have over the ASIC devices is the cost-effectiveness; an attribute that beats the high initial costs common with ASICs.

Introducing XC3S50A-4TQG144I


XC3S50A-4TQG144I is a Spartan-3A FPGA that integrates most of the family/series’ attributes and many more.

These are some of the features or attributes of this Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA):

1. The Configuration Interface is Optimized According to Industry-Standards

The configuration of the interface is in line with the industry-standard PROMs. That includes the loading of the unique multiple bitstreams under the FPGA control, using an SPI serial Flash PROM to reduce costs and create more spaces inside the FPGA; and enabling post-configuration CRC checking.

2. XC3S50A-4TQG144I Supports Several Interface Pins

The interface or configuration pins are as important as how the device functions. For that purpose, XC3S50A-4TQG144I inherits most of the unique pinout compatibilities of the Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGA series.

The list of supported interfaces pins includes a QUIETIO standard pin that helps reduce the switching noise in the Input and Output (I/O); the full 3.3V ± 10% compatibility and hot swap compliance and the 227 different signal pairs.

3. Low-Cost Design

You don’t need to break a bank to afford XC3S50A-4TQG144I because it is a low-cost or affordable FPGA. While it inherits this from the Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGA Series, it also ensures that the cost-effectiveness is spread across different applications.

Thus, it is best used with the devices or applications that require a low-cost design. Examples of these applications are digital television equipment, projectors, broadband access and home networking devices.

The FPGA can also be used with a number of other cost-conscious applications, especially the ones that support high-performance logic solutions.

The Five-Architecture Design

XC3S50A-4TQG144I supports up to five (5) architectures and each of these work in different ways to bolster the device’s performances.

The following are the supported architectures:

4. The Multiplier Blocks

These are dedicated blocks used for “calculating the value of the product.” Ideally, the Multiplier Blocks accept a set of two (2) 18-bit binary numbers, which acts as the inputs to be used when calculating the product.

5. Configurable Logic Blocks

Also called the CLBs, the Configurable Logic Blocks are one of the most important building blocks or architectures for a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), because of the supported elements.

For example, the CLBs are made up of flexible Lookup Tables (LUTs), which implement the core logic plus storage elements that are to be used as either latches or flip-flops.

Besides, XC3S50A-4TQG144I’s CLBs can be used for other purposes, including storing data and carrying out several other logical functions.

6. Digital Clock Manager (DCM)

This is one the most important blocks you can find on a Xilinx Spartan-3A FPGA Series. The Digital Clock Manager (DCM) is a set of “building blocks” used for providing a wide range of clocking-centric functions, such as:

  • Enabling phase-shifting clock signals.
  • Self-calibration for the clocks.
  • Clock division
  • The DCM blocks provide a fully set of digital solutions for multiplying, distributing and delaying clock signals.

7. Input and Output Blocks (IOBs)

Best described as the Input and Output (I/O) pins, these are the dedicated blocks that control the flow of data or wireless information through the Input pin (I) and the Output (O) pin. The monitoring focus here is on how data or wireless information flows between the I/O pins and the internal logic of the target device.

Worthy of mentioning is that the data flow or pathway is segmented across different mediums. For example, the IOBs support a bidirectional data flow, in addition to a 3-state operation.

It also supports many other data flow processes, such as:

  • Double Data-Rate (DDR) registers.
  • A variety of high-performance differential signal standards.

8. Block RAM

The Block Random Access Memory (Block RAM) is XC3S50A-4TQG144I’s medium for providing data storage. The provision is made in the form of an 18-Kbit dual-port blocks.

Excellent Routing

The routing or interconnection of the different components inside XC3S50A-4TQG144I is done in a way that they function effectively.

The rich network of routing provides for the interconnection of the five (5) aforementioned functional elements, viz: Block RAM, IOBs, CLBs, DCM Blocks and Multiplier Blocks.

Through this routing model, all of these functional elements would be able to transmit wireless information/data and signals amongst themselves.

For an excellent routing pathway, each of the functional elements has been provided with a switch matrix. Through this matrix, the elements can then be opened up for multiple connections and interconnections to the routing terminal.

Final Words on XC3S50A-4TQG144I

As a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), XC3S50A-4TQG144I provides for the interconnection, real-time communication and fully-digitized solutions for the multiplication, division, delaying and self-calibration of phase-shifting clock signals.