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FPGAs: Instant Access 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0750689748
ISBN-10: 0750689749
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Clive "Max" Maxfield received a BS in Control Engineering from Sheffield Polytechnic, England in 1980. He began his career as a mainframe CPU designer for International Computers Limited (ICL) in Manchester, England. Max now finds himself a member of the technical staff (MTS) at Intergraph Electronics, Huntsville, Alabama. Max is the author of dozens of articles and papers appearing in magazines and at technical conferences around the world. Max's main area of interest are currently focused in the analog, digital, and mixed-signal simulation of integrated circuits and multichip modules.
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Product Details

  • Series: Instant Access
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Newnes; 1 edition (August 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750689749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750689748
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Douglas L. Datwyler on August 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Clive Maxfield (Max) has created a book that is quite full of information about FPGA technology and development.

For an engineer, this is a condensed guide of what the boss needs to know about what you are doing. You may be hard pressed to find what you need in this condensed version of what is likely to be found in two or three books and in manufacturers data sheets, application notes, and by experience doing FPGA design. There is no chapter on FPGA language tutorials, so if you are looking for VHDL, Verilog, or other language tutorials, they are not here. You must get the full size tomes on the languages, and muddle through.

Managers, on the other hand, will gain an understanding very rapidly of what their engineering charges are up to. They also will be up to an understanding of why they are approving the multi 10's of thousands of dollars for FPGA development tools.

"Dear old dad" would be proud to have this volume, especially if he were a manager. If "dad" is an engineer, your needs will not be found here.
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Format: Paperback
This book was very relevant to my current situation as it has been ten years since I last did an FPGA design and I once again need to look at possibly incorporating an FPGA to enhance the performance of our product range. The issues I am weighing up are: do we use a higher performance DSP, or use a dual-core DSP, or keep the existing DSP but farm out some of the computationally intensive processes to an FPGA, or replace the DSP with an FPGA which contains an embedded processor or two?

To this end, I found the book a good overview of the existing state of the FPGA field. Due to the tremendous increase in FPGA size and complexity, it is no longer feasible to use schematic capture and waveform verification as a design philosophy. Incorporating HDL's helped as the designs got bigger (10K to 50K gates!) but now that embedded processors can be incorporated, the simulation environment becomes a lot more complex. Higher level languages and philosophies, like System-C, are needed. The book introduces these concepts but one would need to read further to gain a deeper understanding before choosing a specific direction.

I also enjoyed the historical perspective that is interwoven through the book as it helped me identify where the field was ten years ago, and what has happened since then. This made it easier for me to relate to the new philosophies. I did not learn any practical skills from the book but it did help cement my understanding of the FPGA field in broad terms.

If you are a new graduate who has to deliver your first FPGA design, I don't think this book would help you to get the job done. It would help you choose the most appropriate technology for your project, but then this is not usually a decision left to the new entrant.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like this book and while it may have been written in 2005 it will give you a crash course in the field of FPGA's, I used this as a stop on my way to actually programming and understanding FPGA's.

Follow this book up with actually purchasing a FPGA and a book (such as Verilog by example) to move forward.

I knocked one star off because while I felt the book was extremely informative there were some seriously glaring edit issues with the book.
One other problem I found was that the author, being so entrenched in the field tends to mention something a while prior to describing it. If you're confused on a topic while reading, continue along, he'll eventually explain.
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Format: Paperback
I've had very little success with "streamlined" or "Compact" guides and books in the past. They typically just expand on what you probably already know and don't get into the details that you got a book for in the first place.

This is certainly NOT the case for any of the Instant Access series. So if your pondering exploring the world of FPGAs or thinking, "Hey, I'd sure like to learn more about FPGAs!" This is a great place to start. If your up for more even more detail I'd even upgrade to Clive Maxfields The Design Warriors Guide to FPGAs. The Design Warrior's Guide to FPGAs: Devices, Tools and Flows (Edn Series for Design Engineers)

This book will help clear the haze that is FPGA design, vendors and their lingo. It gives invaluable insight to what FPGAs are and aren't. Most importantly it will help you to actually start DOING. I believe with just this guide alone one could better define how they can use FPGAs and get the right tools and hardware to do so. Using FPGA tools is a challenge to those unfamiliar. Fortunately, for us we have Clive to help us out!

Personally, I think that Design Warriors Guide to FPGAs paired with some VHDL books is a better value, more bang for the buck from a Engineers perspective. Managers and those just curious about FPGAs can certainly stick with this series.

I hope to see more of the Instant Access series as it help me decide what technologies I'd like to further learn about and how that technology can help me stay ahead of the design trends curve.
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Format: Paperback
FPGAs Instant Access provides a basic understanding of what FPGAs are, where they came from, and how to program and use them. It's also written in a straight-forward manner that is very understandable. You'll still need more details on a particular chip in order to fully create a working design, but this will get you off on the right foot if you have no experience. It's also a great book for someone who just wants to understand the technology but not necessarily do any actual design and programming. A great value for the price!
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