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Andraka Consulting Group, Inc.  "the high performance FPGA design specialist"  

DSP with FPGAs

 
     
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The future of Digital Signal Processing is here now...

Andraka Consulting Group has been using it for years

FPGAs offer an opportunity to accelerate your digital signal processing application up to 1000 times over a traditional DSP microprocessor.

Microprocessors are slow.

Digital signal processing has traditionally been done using enhanced microprocessors. While the high volume of generic product provides a low cost solution, the performance falls seriously short for many applications. Until recently, the only alternatives were to develop custom hardware (typically board level or ASIC designs), buy expensive fixed function processors (eg. an FFT chip), or use an array of microprocessors.

FPGAs accelerate DSP

Recent increases in Field Programmable Gate Array performance and size offer a new hardware acceleration opportunity. FPGAs are an array of programmable logic cells interconnected by a matrix of wires and programmable switches.. Each cell performs a simple logic function defined by a user's program. An FPGA has a large number (64 to over 20,000) of these cells available to use as building blocks in complex digital circuits. Custom hardware has never been so easy to develop.

Performance up to 1000x.*

The ability to manipulate the logic at the gate level means you can construct a custom processor to efficiently implement the desired function. By simultaneoulsy performing all of the algorithm’s subfunctions, the FPGA can outperform a DSP by as much as 1000:1.

DSP vs FPGA performance curve
DSP performance is limited by the serial instruction stream. FPGAs are a better solution in the region above the curve.

* Actual performance gains depend on algorithm efficiency, clock rates, degree of parallelism and other factors. Typical gains lie between 10:1 and 1000:1

FPGA DSPs are flexible,

Like microprocessors, many FPGAs can be infinitely reprogrammed in-circuit in only a fraction of a second. Design revisions, even for a fielded product, can be implemented quickly and painlessly. Hardware can also be reduced by taking advantage of reconfiguration.

Highly integrated,

The programmable logic in an FPGA can absorb much of the interface and ‘glue’ logic associated with microprocessors. The tighter integration can make a product smaller, lighter, cheaper and lower power.

Competitively priced,

FPGAs are a generic product customized at the point of use. They enjoy the cost advantages of high production volumes. There are also none of the NRE charges or fabrication delays associated with ASIC development..

And get you to market on time.

The FPGA’s flexibility eliminates the long design cycle associated with ASICs. With FPGAs there are no delays for prototypes or early production volume. Design revisions are easily implemented, often taking less than a day. The devices are fully tested by the manufacturer, eliminating production test development.

So why isn’t everyone using FPGAs for DSP?

bulletLack of experience using these devices for intense computational applications.
bulletAlgorithms developed for microprocessors can be difficult to translate into hardware.
bulletImmaturity of design tools for FPGA based DSP design
bulletSuccess of an FPGA DSP design is heavily dependent on the experience of the designer, not only in implementing designs in FPGAs, but also in tailoring algorithms for hardware efficiency.

Andraka Consulting Group
is the high performance FPGA DSP expert.

We’ve been using FPGAs in DSP designs since 1988 for:

bulletRadar signal processors (data rates above 40 Mhz)
bulletPhysical system and noise modeling
bulletVideo processing
bulletAudio signal processing
bulletCommunications
bulletand other applications

Andraka Consulting Group will

bulletTailor your algorithms to the FPGA
bulletOptimize the logic for high performance or density
bulletTranslate the design into an FPGA program
bulletProvide the highest possible performance in FPGAs

We also do:

bulletFPGA macro function development,
bulletDesign evaluations and recommendations
bulletHigh performance design tune-ups
bulletBoard level FPGA based designs
bulletFPGA design seminars

Call now to find out what
Andraka Consulting Group
can do for your DSP

 
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Last modified: March 16, 2007