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Today, there are six new FPGAs in the Spartan-7 device family. Want to meet them?

by Xilinx Employee ‎09-27-2016 02:06 PM - edited ‎09-28-2016 07:47 AM (103,020 Views)


Xilinx announced six members in the new Spartan-7 FPGA family today. These devices are the lowest-cost devices in the 28nm Xilinx 7 series and they’re optimized for low, low cost per I/O while delivering terrific performance/watt. Compared to Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGAs, Spartan-7 FPGAs run at half the power consumption (for comparable designs) and with 30% more operating frequency.


Let’s jump right to the good stuff. Here’s the Spartan-7 FPGA device table so you can see what’s inside each of the six devices:



Spartan-7 FPGA Family Table.jpg


Spartan-7 FPGA Family Table



These numbers tell part of the Spartan-7 family story. If you’re comparing the 28nm Spartan-7 family with the older-but-still-popular 45nm Spartan-6 FPGA family, you’ll see that you can get a lot more FPGA in a Spartan-7 device. The smallest Spartan-7 FPGA, the XC7S6, has 6000 logic cells while the smallest Spartan-6 device, the XC6SLX4, has 3840 logic cells. That’s 50% more logic.


However, logical size is not the entire story. There’s also news on the physical front. Spartan-7 device packaging has been engineered specifically for low cost and small size. You can get the new Spartan-7 XC7S6 and XC7S15 in miniscule 8x8mm packages! That’s a tiny 64mm2 of pcb real estate but you still get 86 I/O pins. (Ball pitch is 0.5mm.) Think of what you can do with that sort of I/O capability and where you might tuck one of these puppies into your design. Who knows? You might even want to put a second one in somewhere, just in case.


And, as they say on TV, that’s not all. The Spartan-7 story is also a Vivado Design Suite story—and that’s a pretty big part of this story—because you can use the Vivado Design Suite tools including Vivado HLS to develop FPGA designs based for Spartan-7 devices starting with the 2016.3 release. That includes the no-cost Vivado Design Suite WebPACK Edition. (Vivado HLS allows you to create FPGA designs using C, C++, or SystemC.)


You’ll also want to compare the new Spartan-7 FPGA family members with the existing 28nm Artix-7 devices. Here the biggest differences are that you can get more programmable resources in the larger Artix-7 FPGAs and the Artix-7 devices incorporate two to sixteen 6.6Gbps GTP high-speed serial transceivers. The Spartan-7 devices do not incorporate any serial transceivers. (You can sort of compare the Spartan-7/Artix-7 device relationship to the Spartan-6LX/Spartan-6LXT relationship, if that helps.)


This handy table from the new 7 Series FPGAs Overview product specification further differentiates between the two 28nm families:



Spartan 7 and Artix 7 comparison.jpg


Spartan-7 and Artix-7 FPGA comparison



Spartan-7 FPGAs will begin sampling in the first quarter of 2017.