National Semiconductor recently introduced the Webench FPGA Power-Architect design tool to model power supplies for FPGA systems. WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect tool incorporates the detailed power supply requirements of the newest FPGA devices from Altera, Xilinx, Actel, and Lattice. High performance FPGA power supplies are complex, requiring the designer to meet unique multiple voltage levels with precise voltage, current, ripple, noise filtering, synchronization, soft start, and supply separation demands.

The FPGA power supply designs delivered by WEBENCH incorporate comprehensive FPGA power requirements published by the FPGA manufacturers, giving the designer confidence that their power supplies will meet these constraints while saving critical time in the process.

WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect organizes the following constraints:

  • Family Overview
    General specifications for FPGA Series: I/O banks, PLL, and Transceivers
  • FPGA Power Requirements
    Highlights of special details included in the vendor specifications:Power on Reset, Sequencing, etc.
  • Transceiver Documentation
    Covers specific requirements for ripple, noise, or isolation specs
  • FPGA Datasheet
    Final say on recommended operating conditions for the selected FPGA
  • Pin Connection Guidelines and Literature (App Notes)
    Gold mine of critical advice included here

Creating a complete FPGA power supply design is easy:

  • Select your FPGA(s). The tool automatically populates the FPGA’s unique power requirements, identifying core, and I/O options for every potential load of that array
  • Review load requirements and adjust with the inputs from your vendor power spreadsheet, add other loads if desired
  • Turn the Optimizer dial to fine-tune your complete design

The FPGA power supply may involve one or more intermediate voltage rails between the input supply and the point-of-load regulators and you can tune the recommended power supply with the turn of a dial, reducing size, increasing efficiency or lowering complete system cost in seconds. You can also order components for prototyping, share the design with others, and easily print a complete project report including schematics, bill of materials (BOM), and performance characteristics.