Greetings, I have a small company that works in the defense and telecommunications sector. In the coming months we have to train some of our engineers to develop on FPGA. The question is Xilinx or Altera? Which brand is the best to start? How is the industry standard? Looking on the internet it seems that Xilinx has much more documentation and there is a more active community, but seeing companies like mine (at least in my country, Italy) everyone, absolutely everyone, uses Altera. So my impression is that Xilinx has better support but most companies and products use Altera (Intel) FPGA, so at least in Italy, Altera is the industry standard. Is this my impression true? Since I have to spend quite lot of money on training and software, I would like to make a conscious choice, Do you advise me to invest in training and software for Altera Intel FPGA or Xilinx FPGA?
Why only those two? What about Microsemi/Microchip for example? They have their market in space with radiation hardened FPGA. If you are set to Xilinx or Intel, I can't help, but if not, I would not only focus on those two. Federico Massimi wrote: > Is this my impression true? I can't tell about Italy, but I'm an FPGA developer in germany and we use Xilinx and Microchip (latter because of the space qualification). Xilinx has/had a revenue of over 2 billion dollars and that's not because of some niches. Personally, I liked Intel/Altera more because I found their tools to be more intuitive, but on the other hand it seems like you have to pay to get full support of VHDL (you have to pay to fully use the standard language). But I don't have knowledge about FPGA development in defense. (Btw. I wonder, how any war can happen? I only see defense companies, I have never heard about an offense company...)
Federico Massimi wrote: > Greetings, > I have a small company that works in the defense and > telecommunications sector. most probably a VERY small company, in terms you yourself Answering your questions: Of course there is no FPGA-Type standard. There are functional standards for med end defense and flight systems, like eg do 254. THIS is, what you have to know. The other issue is, that several vendors do not have appropriate FPGAs to handle the requirments given in these documents or if a particular device is too expensive or does not have qualfied parameters. For example: I changed a Xilinx device againts another one recently just because of SEE / SEU issues in terms of vulnerability against particle beams. Altera had a device too, but they wanted to go with Xilinx and the cores. In another example, I changed from Altera to Lattice, because the device is cheaper and the little smaller size was no issue. So gain: There is no "Standard Vendor". > (at least in my country, Italy) everyone, absolutely everyone, > uses Altera. This is wrong. 2 FPGA developers from Bergamo and Cassino working for my client use Xilinx more then Altera, and 70% of their business is in Italy. Moreover some suppliers I know working for FIAT and the City of Milano (Energy Dissipation) create some of their devices with Lattice FPGAs. I have the specs on my desk. Another supplier for power plant control uses Xilinx next to Altera.
Von Gerhard H, wegen Überforderung der BBS-Software heute vermutlich als Gast Developper wrote: > Federico Massimi wrote: >> Greetings, >> I have a small company that works in the defense and >> telecommunications sector. > > most probably a VERY small company, in terms you yourself > The other issue is, that several vendors do not have appropriate FPGAs > to handle the requirments given in these documents or if a particular > device is too expensive or does not have qualfied parameters. > > For example: I changed a Xilinx device againts another one recently just > because of SEE / SEU issues in terms of vulnerability against particle > beams. Altera had a device too, but they wanted to go with Xilinx and > the cores. There is no SEU issue in Xilinx that cannot be handled by cyclic scrubbing of the configuration RAM. BTDT for Virtex. The FPGA can even handle that itself if implemented in triple module redundancy. It just must be done often enough so that SEUs cannot accumulate. TMR is most impressive. You can inject masses of errors and the system just runs on, just like you would try to shoot a terminator with a pump gun. After each clock cycle, the world is OK again. Picoblazes and the like need a small update since their registers are really windows into the configuration RAM. Resetting the registers to the power-up values every few seconds annoys the programmers. I'd be happy to rewrite that and the TMR library in contemporary VHDL. The 2nd implementation is usually much cleaner. :-) Like the accident with the Fortran punched card deck. The joys of being a freelancer. They use us because we know things. And no, there has never been a Führer or a Führungsoffizier, just normal space technology like ISS. Gerhard
Federico Massimi wrote: > defense and > telecommunications sector. In the coming months we have to train some of > our engineers to develop on FPGA. The question is Xilinx or Altera? > How is the industry standard? You are confusing things, yes there are standards, but those standards are not met by simply using 'standard devices' or a 'preferred brand'. It is your job to find out if and how your hardware implementation meets customer requirements and legal standards. Some of the standards you need to be concerned with include: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DO-254 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STANAG_3910 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STANAG_4586 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STANAG_5066 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic_in_Arms_Regulations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Administration_Regulations ... > Since I have to spend quite lot of money on training and software, I > would like to make a conscious choice, Do you advise me to invest in > training and software for Altera Intel FPGA or Xilinx FPGA? Well, in my humble opinion, it's not worth hiring an engineer who relies on outside training to get all the know-how to do his job. An engineer must be able to B. Draw a "decision matrix" to choose between different devices and fill in the blanks after researching the available documentation.