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What Is Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA ?

The Xilinx Artix-7 field programmable gate array (FPGA) is a low-cost, low-power programmable logic device built on a 28nm high-performance, low-power (HPL) fabrication process. The Artix-7 combines cost-optimized programmable logic fabric along with integrated functional blocks to address compute-intensive applications with rigorous cost and power constraints like embedded vision, motor control, software defined radio, and functional safety systems.

This article provides a comprehensive technical overview of the Artix-7 architecture, available features, design considerations, target applications and key benefits for system designers.

Introduction to Xilinx Artix-7 FPGAs

The Artix-7 represents Xilinx’s low-cost FPGA offering within its overall product portfolio. Key aspects include:

  • High density programmable logic fabric for flexible implementation of digital systems
  • Integrated hardcore functional blocks – DSP slices, block RAM, transceivers
  • High-performance interfacing – memory controllers, PCI Express, Ethernet
  • Low power 28HPL process optimized for embedded applications
  • Small form factor packaging – FPGA and SoC configurations
  • Mature Vivado Design Suite for development and debug

Artix-7 devices achieve optimal balance between capabilities, power efficiency and costs for high volume embedded applications requiring programmable logic resources in the 50K to 350K logic cell range.

Artix-7 FPGA Family Overview

The Artix-7 family provides a range of devices with different sizes and capabilities to match diverse application needs:

Programmable Logic Density

  • Small – Up to 75K logic cells
  • Medium – 140K to 270K logic cells
  • Large – Over 300K logic cells

Transceiver Speeds

  • GTH – 3.75Gbps to 12.5Gbps
  • GTX – Up to 28.05Gbps

On-chip Memory

  • Up to 12.8Mb of block RAM
  • Up to 3.1Gbps external DDR3 memory interfaces


  • CSP – Chip scale packages for space constrained designs
  • FBGA – Flip-chip fine pitch BGA packages
  • SBGA – Low cost small form factor packages

Power consumption is optimized down to the 1-2W range making Artix-7 ideal for embedded applications. Larger density options integrate ample hardened blocks for interfacing, signal processing and data movement.

Artix-7 FPGA Architecture

The Artix-7 architecture is optimized to deliver cost-efficient programmable logic capability along with essential integrated peripherals.

Programmable Logic Fabric

The core of the architecture consists of flexible, high-performance programmable logic implemented using 6-input LUTs:

  • The basic logic cell is a 6-input LUT which can also be fractured into two 5-input LUTs
  • 4 LUTs and 8 flip-flops grouped into a slice for efficient packing
  • Fast interconnect and abundant local routing for building complex datapaths
  • 36Kb Block RAM for on-chip data storage

Integrated Blocks

Key hardened functional blocks to accelerate system processing:


  • Up to 16 GTH transceivers operating up to 12.5Gbps
  • Implements protocols including PCIe, Ethernet, CPRI, USB

DSP Slices

  • Up to 400 DSP slices, each performing arithmetic operations
  • Optimized for math-intensive DSP and analytics workloads

PCI Express

  • Two 32-bit PCIe Gen2 interfaces up to 5Gbps

Memory Interfaces

  • DDR3/3L SDRAM controllers at up to 1866Mbps


The Artix-7 I/O capabilities support interfacing wide range of on-board peripherals and signals:

  • High speed differential I/O like LVDS for sensors and video
  • Single-ended standards – LVCMOS, LVTTL
  • SSTL and HSTL for external memories
  • Digitally adjustable I/O drive strength and slew rates
  • Termination resistors for memory interfaces

Artix-7 Benefits for Hardware Designers

xilinx artix 7

For embedded systems engineers, the Artix-7 architecture delivers several compelling benefits:

High Performance

  • 6-input LUTs reduce LUT count by 20% vs 4-input LUTs improving density
  • Integrated DSP blocks, transceivers and memory accelerate processing
  • 28Gbps transceivers support high-throughput serial interfacing

Low Power

  • Small 28nm geometry results in very low static and dynamic power
  • Intelligent clock gating removes power from inactive regions
  • Power optimization across device, software and PCB design


  • Mature 28nm process provides cost-efficient manufacturing
  • Integrated blocks reduce external logic and interface components

Ease of Use

  • Vivado productivity enhancing IP and system integration tools
  • MicroBlaze soft-core eases C/C++ software programming

For embedded systems with rigorous cost targets, Artix-7 enables optimized implementation of compute-intensive parallel workloads.

Artix-7 Design Methodology

Designing hardware systems using the Artix-7 FPGA involves:

  1. Design Creation – Developing the desired functionality using schematics, VHDL or Verilog
  2. Simulation – Simulating the design pre-implementation to verify correctness
  3. Synthesis – Synthesizing HDL code into optimized logic representations
  4. Implementation – Translating synthesized design into physical FPGA resources
  5. Verification – Ensuring functionality, timing and power goals are achieved
  6. Programming – Generating FPGA bitstream file to configure Artix-7 device
  7. Debug – On-chip logic analyzer assists in-system debug during integration

Leveraging FPGA’s reconfigurable property enables rapid design iterations to meet requirements.

Artix-7 Target Applications

The Artix-7 capabilities and cost-efficient performance targets a wide spectrum of embedded, industrial and communications applications:

Embedded Vision

  • Surveillance systems
  • Medical endoscopy
  • Machine vision for manufacturing and inspection
  • Autonomous robotics

Motor Control

  • Industrial servo/motion control
  • Robotics
  • Motor drives
  • Drone/UAV control systems

Functional Safety

  • Industrial process monitoring
  • Automotive driver assistance systems
  • Railway signaling systems
  • Medical diagnostics

Wireless Communications

  • Small cell backhaul processing
  • RADAR and LiDAR signal processing
  • Software defined radio
  • Wireless infrastructure

Scientific Research

  • Weather monitoring
  • Medical and particle physics experiments
  • Satellite payloads
  • Radio astronomy

For these use cases with constrained power budgets and device footprints but still requiring high throughput signal/image processing capability, Artix-7 hits the cost-performance-power sweet spot.

Artix-7 vs Kintex-7 FPGA Comparison

Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA

It is useful to contrast the Artix-7 family against Xilinx’s higher capability Kintex-7 FPGAs:

Programmable Logic

  • Artix-7 offers up to 350K logic cells, while Kintex-7 goes up to 474K logic cells
  • Kintex-7 provides higher routing interconnect performance


  • Artix-7 supports up to 16 x 12.5Gbps transceivers
  • Kintex-7 supports up to 16 x 12.5Gbps transceivers

Memory Interfaces

  • Both support similar DDR3 memory controllers with comparable speeds


  • Artix-7 optimized for ultra low-power embedded apps
  • Kintex-7 suits apps with higher power budgets


  • Artix-7 offers a 40% cost reduction while sacrificing some performance
  • Kintex-7 provides higher capability for cost-driven applications

For the ultimate in embedded processing capability, Kintex-7 is indicated. But for applications where ultra low cost and power are mandates, Artix-7 provides the logical solution.


By integrating high density programmable logic fabric with commonly needed functionality like DSP, transceivers and external memory interfaces, Xilinx Artix-7 FPGAs deliver optimized price/performance for embedded vision, motor control, communications and functional safety applications.

For hardware designers challenged to accomplish more with less, Artix-7 provides a compelling solution to accelerate innovation and facilitate transition from concept to deployed edge solution across diverse segments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the key characteristics of the Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA family?

A: The Artix-7 provides cost-optimized programmable logic, integrated processing blocks and high-performance I/O at very low power consumption ideal for embedded applications.

Q: What are some of the target applications for Artix-7 FPGAs?

A: Key application areas include embedded vision, motor control, functional safety systems, wireless communications and scientific research.

Q: How does Artix-7 compare to the higher capability Kintex-7 FPGAs?

A: The Kintex-7 offers 40% more programmable logic capability and higher performance but at greater cost over the Artix-7.

Q: What are the core programmable elements in the Artix-7 architecture?

A: This includes the 6-input LUT fabric, flexible I/O blocks, integrated DSP slices and block RAM, and high-speed serial transceivers.

Q: What design tools can be used to develop with Artix-7 FPGAs?

A: Xilinx’s mature Vivado Design Suite supports the full design flow from RTL design creation to bitstream generation and debug.




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