Unless you’ve drastically tried to fix water damage on your computer or replaced the cracked screen of your smartphone on your own, you’ve probably never seen what a motherboard looks like or know what all the different parts do. But, if you’ve ever considered going into software engineering or computer science, perhaps you should at least know the difference between some components, for example, the FPGA and the microprocessor.
The FPGA, or Field Programmable Gate Arrays, are simple and user-configurable blocks of gates. Because they are programmable, FPGAs don’t have any hardwired logic blocks. FPGAs are laid out like a net with each junction containing a switch that the user can make or break, determining how the logic of each will work. In order to work with FPGAs, programmers have to learning HDL or Hardware Description Language in order to create and implement their own logic blocks.
Microprocessors are simplified CPUs, or Central Processing Units, that execute specific fixed instructions. And each of these instructions has its own corresponding block already hardwired into the microprocessor, making it the more complex between the two. In order to work with microprocessors and create the appropriate working program, programmers need to learn each of the fixed set of instructions.
However, recent developments in technology and demands for efficiency have led to the combination of FPGAs and microprocessors into a neat little package. This gives users the best of both worlds. While the microprocessor can do most of the actual processing and general tasks, it can pass the specific and unique tasks to the FPGA. However, if you really wanted to, improvements in electronics make it so that you can use a microprocessor and make it do the work of an FPGA and you can make an FPGA do the work of a single logic gate. So, when it really comes down to it, you can make do with either.
ASAP Semiconductor is a premier online distributor of aerospace and aviation parts, board level components, and IT hardware. We can help you find everything need, including FPGAs and microprocessors, new or obsolete and hard-to-find. For more information or a quote, visit us at www.asapsemi.com, or call us at +1-714-705-4780.