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The difference between ARM and FPGA

Date: Jul 22, 2020

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What is the difference between ARM and FPGA? From this article you will get more information about it.

The difference between ARM and FPGA

What is the difference between ARM and FPGA? The article mainly explains the concept, meaning, function and purpose.


ARM is the application, FPGA is the chip design, the former is software, and the latter is hardware. ARM is like a single-chip microcomputer, but its own resources are fixed by the manufacturer, and it can be used as an excellent single-chip microcomputer.

The FPGA needs to be programmed by itself so that it has all the functions you want it to have. For example, if you want it to be a counter, or just a NOT gate, then the chip is a NOT gate, but a very expensive NOT gate. You can also use an FPGA with sufficient internal resources to make this FPGA an ARM chip, and add the peripherals you want to add, such as network, memory control, LCD, etc., as long as the resources are sufficient!

In the sense

ARM can be a kind of processor, using ARM architecture system processor, which integrates many ready-made hardware resources for you to program and call. Such as various ready-made hardware such as arithmetic unit, serial port, usb interface. Some functions can be realized by directly controlling the hardware through interrupts or DMA.

FPGA is a hardware that does not have any ready-made hardware in it. You need to design it yourself. For example, you can design an ARM CPU or a dedicated arithmetic unit, serial port circuit, etc. and download it to it. This hardware needs to be designed by yourself, using verilog or vhdl language.


ARM has a relatively strong transaction management function, which can be used to run interfaces and applications. Its advantages are mainly reflected in control, while DSP is mainly used for calculations, such as encryption and decryption, modulation and demodulation, etc. The advantages are powerful Data processing capacity and higher operating speed.

FPGA can be programmed with VHDL or verilogHDL, and it is flexible. Because it can program, debug, reprogram and repeat operations, it can fully carry out design development and verification. When the circuit has a small amount of changes, it can show the advantages of FPGA. Its field programming ability can extend the life of the product in the market, and this ability can be used for system upgrades or debugging.


FPGA can be used to design the peripheral circuit of the CPU or directly design the CPU itself. For example, you want to design your own CPU or other hardware circuits.

ARM is generally used as a microcontroller or embedded operating system CPU, just like your computer's CPU. When you use computer hardware resources, you don't need to design the hardware yourself. The CPU can directly use the ready-made hardware resources through the programmed program. Compared to save trouble.

In general, ARM is more convenient to use, and FPGA is more malleable, just choose according to your needs.

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