System designers are always making trade-offs between alternative requirements. Considerations include time to market, ease of use, total ownership cost, and system speed.

Every alternative offers different total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) considerations that you should examine when designing a configuration system, including design time, prototyping, manufacturing and test costs, and the per-bit costs of the configuration device. The trade-offs of all these factors should enter into your decision of which configuration method to use.

Designers using Xilinx Virtex-5 devices have many additional choices for configuring the new FPGA family, including new configuration modes built right into the chips; support for 32-bit-wide high-performance parallel SelectMAP, which offers the ultimate in speed; and both BPI (byte parallel interface) and SPI (serial peripheral interface) using industry-standard SPI and parallel flash memory devices. The easy-to-use, full-featured, configuration-engineered Platform Flash PROMs offer a pre-engineered way to flexibly configure Virtex-5 devices and manage multiple bitstreams.

Reprinted with permission from Xcell Journal / Fourth Quarter 2006. Article © Xcell Journal.