Xilinx is a leading manufacturer of FPGAs, with several different devices to suit different kinds of applicaiton.
Xilinx components are found in:
– Ultrasound devices
– 3D TVs
– Surveillance tools
– Digital SLR cameras
– Cellular radios
– Set top boxes
– Avionics imaging devices
– Mobile infrastructure
With such a huge range of applications, it’s easy to understand why Xilinx are thought of as an industry leader. They offer a number of Unified FGPA series, and each one is aimed at a different market.
Number of Unified FGPA series
– Virtex offers high performance, but out of all the FGPAs made by Xilinx it carries perhaps the greatest power drain, although it is still quite efficient.
– Artix offers the best in terms of performance per watt, draining very little power for the performance it offers.
– Kintex sits in between, offering balanced power consumption and performance.
There is another option, the Easy-Path, which is a fast, simple and low cost option for Kintx and Vertex designs where you want to cost-reduce them. The Artix is the lowest cost device, but there are devices for all markets.
Before you try making something that relies on Xilinx components, it is a good idea to work on a prototyping board, and there are a number of resellers that offer those. After that you can buy xilinx components from the manufacturer or from an international reseller. Xilinx has offices in California, as well as in Ireland, Japan and Singapore. This means that it’s possible to get a good deal on the components no matter where you are based.
Xilinx focuses on differentiation, and drives consumer innovation, with offerings that are suitable for embeded techonology, the defense industry, consumer electronics and everything in between. If you are a student looking to get involved in the world of engineering, then learning about PDLs and FPGAs makes a lot of sense. Even if you don’t start with Xilinx devices right away, and just work with unbranded hobbyist boards, you will still be picking up valuable skills that will allow you to work with a host of devices as you become more confident. Standard software programming languages are good to know as well, but hardware description languages and the basics of logic are a must for anyone that wants to work with low-level programming, and truly ‘talk to machines’ instead of simply telling operating systems what to do.