The Xilinx¤ Virtex™-4 FX family of FPGA devices provides embedded systems developers with new alternatives for creating high-performance, hardware-accelerated applications. With an integrated industry-standard PowerPC™ processor and innovative Auxiliary Processor Unit (APU) interface, the Virtex-4 FX device allows system designers to efficiently connect custom hardware accelerators to the integrated processor, yielding unprecedented performance.

In the past, software programmers who wanted to take advantage of FPGAs for algorithm acceleration have experienced significant technical barriers because of the complexity of writing low-level hardware descriptions to represent higher level software functions.

In this article, we’ll show how the power of the Virtex-4 FX FPGA can be made readily available to embedded systems designers and software programmers through the use of software-to-hardware tools. The emergence of such tools bring the performance benefits of FPGAs to anyone who can program in C. Accelerated FPGA-based designs are now easier and more practical for a wide range of application domains, including image processing, DSP, and data encryption.

Reprinted with permission from Xcell Journal / Fourth Quarter 2005. Article © Xcell Journal.