Electronic – an FPGA


I've seen a lot of people talking about FPGA's before and I know that it stands for field-programmable gate array but how does it work and what is the purpose of using an FPGA?

Best Answer

They are electronic components that add logic to your circuits (so they are similar to micro-controllers). But the design approach is then completely different than in the uC (micro controller). In a uC, you can't change the internal uC design; you can only run "classical" programs on it. Programing FPGAs is more like creating new hardware. You create new connections between logical gates and create a new, specialized processor. And you can do it all in your home, on your desk and your PC.

Sounds cool? Yes, but there are some disadvantages. For example, price (but I think it's hard to compare it), higher power consumption, and lower clock speeds (but you can design your application in a smart way, and do more operations in one clock cycle).

Useful links:

Example usage: http://nsa.unaligned.org/