In a debate over the leadership in the FPGA field, there is one name will come up time and time again: Xilinx. Credited with the invention of the Xilinx FPGA, it is no wonder that they would continue to be an innovator and leader in the FPGA field. Founded in the mid 1980s on the production of what was a brand new technology at the time, they have continued to create new novel designs, pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished by these technologies. Xilinx has grown with the FPGA market, continuing to be at the forefront.
Throughout their four decades of history, they have maintained a lead over their competition by being first to introduce new designs and implement new ideas. They have been the first company to introduce many nodes that are still in use today through their product line. More recently, they have begun to add exciting new features, such as their Zynq-7000 line, which combines an ARM core processor directly into the chip.
Xilinx FPGA boards also benefit at the programming and circuit modeling stage. Being the largest of the FPGA manufacturers, their Vivado design suite is also the best-known design suite for FPGAs. This ensures maximum support and minimum effort is required for your design. Vivado also offers seamless transition across multiple product lines, so time invested developing one product through Vivado will apply to future designs you may have incorporating their new technologies, such as ARM-core FPGAs, 3D chips, and analog mixed signal devices. For some applications, the high-level synthesis allows programming to be done in C code, with Vivado translating it into RTL for direct loading into Xilinx devices.
Taking it a step further, some IP is already developed for the Xilinx fpga family, allowing you to adapt existing code for specific purposes. Think of these as building blocks, which you can import directly for portions of your programming. Then you can create your custom code around these building blocks. This saves time directly with development as well as with testing, as these blocks have already been tested by Xilinx directly as well as a wide group of the developer community using these exact same building blocks of code.
For new designs, or for updating older designs, the Xilinx family of FPGAs have a clear advantage. With building blocks of programming, a wide user base, and a state of the art developer suite that can import and translate some legacy code to the new FPGA line, they will be faster and more economical to implement in your design.
Xilinx FPGAs are also natively simulated in the Vivado design suite. This means that programs can be developed and then run through a simulator, to speed up the design process. After vetting the program in Vivado, it can then be verified on real hardware. With the FPGA and the simulation package coming from the same company, you can be assured of an accurate and rapid simulation. This allows you to program and test in the simulator mode with confidence, reducing time of development and reducing the associated costs.
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