FPGAs are being used in more and more applications over time. Field programmable gate arrays have gained popularity over time. However, the prices of FPGAs differ based on their features and structure. Also, the type of brand you choose determines the price of an FPGA. There are several vendors for FPGAs. Xilinx and Altera are two main large vendors of FPGA.
If you are new in the embedded world and you are not sure of FPGA price, then this article is for you. Here, we’ll be explaining the prices of Xilinx FPGA devices. Also, we will discuss factors that influence the price of these FPGAs.
What is an FPGA?
An FPGA is known as a unique integrated circuit that can perform several tasks when reconfigured. For instance, you can configure an FPGA to act as a processor and you can reconfigure it to function as GPU. This means that FPGAs can act as any other Digital Integrated Circuit when theoretically programmed.
FPGA stands fir Field Programmable Gate Array. Also, the Field Programmable means that you can program an FPGA anywhere. The Gate Array implies that FPGAs comprise several flip-flops and logic gates. Users can connect these elements according to design requirements to enable the FPGA act according to the desired design goal.
The flip-flops and gates are typically grouped into Configurable Logic Blocks. There are several CLBs on an FPGA. These blocks interconnect with each other to integrate certain circuit functionality with the use of a programmable interconnect matrix.
An FPGA is like a breadboard for Digital Circuits. FPGAs feature several flip-flops and gates and there are wires passing through the complete chip. Circuits comprise wires connected to the relevant flip-flops or gates according to intended design.
FPGAs feature programmable interconnects instead of using a physical wire as in breadboards. Also, FPGAs feature dedicated routes or wires for clock signals. Only selected FPGA pins can drive these global clock routing wires. Also, the designs that run on FPGAs use Hardware Description Languages like SystemVerilog and VHDL.
FPGA devices are widely used in several applications like communication systems and military radars. Also, FPGAs are ideal for use in applications that require a high level of parallelism. In addition, they are functional in applications where traditional CPUs might fail. These days FPGAs are useful in Software Defined Networking and Software Defined Radio.
What Do Xilinx FPGAs Offer?
FPGAs were very expensive in those days. Therefore, this limited the use of FPGAs in some applications. As the prices of FPGAs continue to decrease, more advanced industrial machines took advantage of this price drop. Also, FPGAs are well structured and can be easily scaled and developed.
The Xilinx FPGAs are technology-oriented. Also, they provide more chips with custom circuits that integrate specific functions. Therefore, they have better connections to applications. Also, Xilinx has been a leading supplier of FPGA for many years. In terms of cost and performance, Xilinx features a good range of FPGAs.
Furthermore, Xilinx develops FPGAs for the cost-sensitive, high-volume electronics market. Therefore, this FPGA company has used custom chips with fixed architectures like ASICs due to their cost and performance advantages.
How much does Xilinx FPGA Cost?
The price of FPGA varies based on the features it offers. Xilinx FPGAs are available from $5 onwards and go beyond $100,000. Also, Xilinx offer a wide range of FPGAs with different prices. You can buy some FPGAs at a cheaper rate by buying an off-the-shelf FPGA development board.
FPGAs need individual testing before sale. Also, this helps to ensure several logic cells and routing interconnects remain functional. However, this verification involves speed grade binning and characterization. Therefore, testing contributes to cost of Xilinx FPGAs. Also, verification requires more time and cost.
FPGAs with high market share are specially designed with cutting edge technology. Some FPGAs comprise special features. Also, these features impact their price. For example, Xilinx Virtex 7 28nm price ranges from $2500 to $3200. The type of Xilinx FPGA you choose determines the price you will pay. For example, Xilinx Spartan 7 FPGA price ranges from $774 to $900.
Xilinx Spartan 3 FPGA is one of the lowest cost FPGAs. Also, the Spartan 3 starter kit is available at $99. The price of Xilinx FPGAs varies.
Factors that Determine Xilinx FPGA Price
There are several Xilinx FPGA devices available in the market today. These devices differ in terms of their prices. There are several factors that determine the cost of an FPGA. Also, these factors include number of LUTs, maximum clock speed, and more.
Number of gates
In the early stage of an FPGA development, it is more difficult to estimate the early stages. However, you can determine the number of gates as you progress with development. As regards gates or resources, there are different FPGA sizes in the market.
This is another factor that impacts the price of FPGAs. FPGAs feature different IO count. Therefore, the number of IOs would affect the price of an FPGA. You need to calculate the number of IOs your FPGA design needs. Basically, this means the number of pins required to connect from the FPGA. You will pay less for a smaller FPGA.
The design architecture of an FPGA will influence its price. Also, FPGA implementation needs to meet the specifications of an application. Xilinx FPGA is more engineered for high speed interface. The availability of high speed differential transceivers allows high bandwidth in data reception/ transmission off-chip.
End of life
End of life occurs when a vendor halts the production of an FPGA device due to several reasons. This unfortunate situation happens. However, there are ways by which you can reduce the chances that your FPGA will fall victim. Ensure you choose an FPGA family that isn’t too old.
Xilinx delivers cost-optimized performance FPGAs at a wide range of prices. Also, Xilinx maintains a balance between price and performance. Therefore, this FPGA device is highly preferred among other FPGA brands. There are factors which contribute to the price range in Xilinx products. Some of these factors include the number of I/O pins and the number of gates. It is necessary to understand and know your budget and your application requirement before opting for a Xilinx FPGA.