What Is an FPGA?

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are reprogrammable silicon chips. In contrast to processors that you find in your PC, programming an FPGA rewires the chip itself to implement your functionality rather than run a software application. Ross Freeman, the cofounder of Xilinx, invented the first FPGA in 1985. NI has partnered with Xilinx to offer their cutting-edge FPGA technology in a variety of hardware platforms.

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Top 5 Benefits of Using FPGAs

FPGA chip adoption across all industries is driven by the fact that FPGAs combine the best parts of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and processor-based systems. These benefits include the following:

  • Faster I/O response times and specialized functionality
  • Exceeding the computing power of digital signal processors
  • Rapid prototyping and verification without the fabrication process of custom ASIC design
  • Implementing custom functionality with the reliability of dedicated deterministic hardware
  • Field-upgradable eliminating the expense of custom ASIC re-design and maintenance

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NI's Approach to FPGA-Based Design

In the past, FPGA technology was available to only engineers with a deep understanding of digital hardware design. The rise of high-level system design tools, such as NI LabVIEW software, changes the rules of FPGA programming, delivering new technologies that convert graphical block diagrams into digital hardware circuitry. All NI FPGA hardware products are built on a reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, which features powerful floating-point processors, reconfigurable FPGAs, and modular I/O. NI RIO hardware, combined with LabVIEW system design software, simplifies development and shortens time to market when designing advanced control, monitoring, and test applications.

Evaluate NI FPGA hardware and software

Product Solutions

FPGA Software

Target and program NI FPGA hardware with LabVIEW.

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FPGA Hardware

Explore NI FPGA hardware products that come in a variety of form factors.

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