Brian Benchoff
Oct 3 · 2 min read

If you want to get started in FPGA development, start reading some VHDL or Verilog tutorials. Don’t worry about which one, they’re both terribly inscrutable. This fact has left would-be FPGA developers calling for a simple way to program FPGAs.

This week Xilinx has released Vitis, a toolchain that adapts existing software to FPGAs, without the need for VHDL or Verilog. Previously, the only way to program an FPGA would be to learn VHDL or Verilog. This does the same job in C or C++. Please note this comparison means C is effectively a high-level language. Yes, that’s weird.

As with any development platform, the Vitis includes standard libraries and pre-programmed I/O. There are also libraries for pre-accelerated functions for AI, vision, security, and data compression. All of this is programmable in C. Yes, you could do this with Xilinx’ Vivado suite, but Vitis will apparently make things easier to use.

The Pynq dev board uses a Zynq-7000 SoC, combining an FPGA and an ARM Cortex-A9. It’s also pink.

The Vitis toolchain will work with most Xilinx hardware, including some options that are extraordinarily affordable. As with all FPGA hardware, the sky is the limit and usually contained in mult-thousand dollar PCIe cards. Vitis will work there, as well.

If you’re looking to get started programming an FPGA in C, you can pick up a Spartan-6 dev board for about $25 if you know where to look. The Vitis software will be launched in November. You can sign up to be notified when Vitis will be available on Xilinx’ developer site

Supplyframe

Discussing the business of hardware and hardware manufacturing.

Brian Benchoff

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Supplyframe

Discussing the business of hardware and hardware manufacturing.

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