Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) boards are an important interface of semiconductor devices that leverage programmable interconnects for connection and are based around a CLBs or configurable logic blocks’ matrix. Upon manufacture, it is possible to reprogram FPGAs in order to fit desired functionality or application requirements. Typically, FPGAs are truly parallel circuits unlike processors, which imply that there is no competition for the same resources for different processing operations. However, for most devices, an electrical interface to the input/output pins of FPGA is only provided by the hardware of FPGA board. As such, the user will need to construct a logic that provides a controller or circuit of a device interface using the internal logic of FPGA.
FPGA Boards are undoubtedly varied and are inherently highly versatile with numerous different features. Interestingly, these features of FPGA Boards are packed into a particular architecture and package. This begs the question, what are the different types of FPGA Boards? And Voila! The answer can be given with succinct certainty to affirm that several types exist. Alternatively, it is also imperative to elucidate why it has not been possible to design FPGA Boards with potential to predominantly utilize such features simultaneously, instead of having slightly varied, but multiple options that are almost the same. This would resolve the challenge of designing multiple options of FPGA Boards, a milestone that has proven a daunting task to actualize.
FPGA Boards are universally integrated circuits in which various technologies are used to store configuration bit-streams. These technologies are the ones that form the criteria for the classification of the different types of FPGA Boards including: SRAM-based FPGA Boards, Flash-based FPGA Boards, SRAM-based FPGAs Boards that include an internal Flash memory, as well as Fuse or Antifuse-based FPGA Boards. The last type of FPGA Boards is a one-time programmable integrated circuit, and not as dominant as other types. This means that although the FPGA Boards which are one-time programmable are available, SRAM-based FPGA Boards are the dominant types, because they can be reconfigured as the design evolves in order to ensure their optimal utilization is realized.
Logic cells configuration data in this type of FPGA Boards is stored in the static memory, which is subtly distinguished by its array of latches organization. However, there must be configuration in this type of FPGA Boards upon start partly due to the volatility of SRAMs, and also because in absence of power source they cannot keep data. Learn more at http://www.directics.com/microprocessor/.
SRAM-based FPGA Boards with Internal Flash Memory
These FPGA Boards are generally similar to previous ones, with the exception that blocks of internal flash memory are included in them. This architecture design ensures that the need to have a non-volatile external memory is eliminated. However, Flash memory in these FPGA Boards is only used during startup for the purpose of loading data to configuration cells of the SRAM.
Flash-based FPGA Boards
In this type of FPGA Boards, SRAMS are not required. This is mainly because Flash memories are used as the configuration storage’s primary resource.
Fuse or Antifuse-based FPGA Boards
The main difference between this type of FPGA Boards and the previous ones is that they are only programmable once. However, as opposed to the Fuse-based FPGA Boards, the Antifuse-based FPGA Boards act as an open circuit at first, but, it can later be short-circuited during the programming of the FPGA.