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FPGA vs eFPGA | Difference between FPGA and eFPGA

This page compares FPGA vs eFPGA and mentions difference between FPGA and eFPGA. The full form of FPGA is Field Programmable Gate Array and eFPGA stands for Embedded FPGA.

FPGA | Field Programmable Gate Array

FPGA chip
Figure-1: FPGA chip

The FPGA Architecture consists of following:
Configurable Logic Block(CLB) - It contains digital logic,inputs outputs. It implements user logic.
Interconnects- which provides routing between the logic blocks to implements the user logic
Switch Matrix - provides switching between interconnects depending on the logic.
Input/Output pads - used for outside world to communicate in Applications

FPGA architecture fig1
Figure-2: FPGA Architecture

Logic Block consists of
LUT: It implements the combinational logic functions
Register (D flip flip): it stores the output of LUT
MUX: it is used for selection logic

Xilinx and Altera are popular manufacturers of FPGA ICs. Refer FPGA Architecture for more information.

eFPGA | Embedded Field Programmable Gate Array

eFPGA on a SoC or ASIC
Figure-3: eFPGA on SoC or ASIC

• It is available in the form of IP core which can be integrated on ASIC or SoC to achieve programmable logic. The other components of traditional FPGA chips e.g. GPIOs, SERDES and PHYs are not integrated on SoC or ASIC.
• Using eFPGA, one can define quantity of LUTs, embedded memory, registers and DSP blocks.
• It is easy to control aspect ratio and number of I/O ports.
• This helps to make tradeoff between power consumption and performance.
• Figure-3 depicts reconfigurable RTL which is FPGA core. Other components of SoC such as DSP, CPU, SRAM, hardwired RTL are also shown.
• The eFPGA IP can be licensed and placed inside an ASIC or SoC. It is available from number of vendors.

Benefits of using eFPGA architecture over FPGA are as follows.
➨eFPGA can be customized post production with minimal expenses unlike FPGA.
➨eFPGA does not require changing RTL design post production and does not require re-manufacturing of chips. This provides greater flexibility in using eFPGA over FPGA.

Difference between FPGA and eFPGA

Following table mentions difference between FPGA and eFPGA architectures.

Specifications Traditional FPGA eFPGA
I/O interconnect It is through packages such as PCIe, SERDES etc. It is within SoC or ASIC designs.
GPIOs Up to approx. 400 Up to approx. 10K
Clocks It can be generated using dedicated PLLs on chip. It can be generated within SoC/ASIC.
Memory fixed amount Customised
Hard blocks Fixed vendor hard blocks Customer defined hard blocks or menta hard blocks
Foundry Fixed At customer choice
Temperature range Need to select appropriate FPGAs from catalogue as per temperature requirements. At customer choice.
Size (Logic Cells) Different vendors manufacture different sizes. It is available from 12 to 200K sizes.


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