Xilinx provides the FPGA migration guide (see http://www.xilinx.com/support/documentation/sw_manuals/ug429_7Series_Migration.pdf) that helps in moving from the previous generation of devices to the 7 series FPGAs.
The nice thing about the 7 series FPGAs is that it has a unified architecture which means that all families and all devices use a consistent Virtex architecture. This means that moving a design from previous Virtex devices or moving a design within the 7 series is relatively easy when compared to FPGAs that have very different architectures. Also, Spartan-6 and Virtex-6 FPGAs had already moved in this direction of a common architecture as you can see with a common 6-input LUT, similar DSP block, etc. This means moving Spartan-6 designs to 7 series is also easier.
Given all the functionality in today’s platform level FPGAs (FPGAs are no longer just about gates or logic cells), it takes a bit of work to best match the I/O interfacing standards, PCIe, Ethernet blocks, DSP blocks, transceivers, etc. requirements of a previous generation FPGA to a new generation... so it’s always best to look at the product tables and compare the resources of your design to the devices to find the best possible fit and then try it in the tools. We’ll also take a look at creating a simple doc to help.
This is a great piece of marketing. So how about telling us when we can buy silicon and when the tools to properly support these will show up (like with SDC support for both synthesis and simulation). Will I be able to get the entire family in a year? Two years? Three?
I want the goods, not promises (remember the Virtex 4 MGT fiasco? I think it was the V4, anyway...)
There would be great if somebody provide a migration guide from previous generations of FPGAs to this generation. For example we have several designs on Virtex 4 LX25, Spartan 3 700A and Spartan 6 LX25. Now the question is:
What is the closest replacement for each of these devices in 7 generation, or we should first ask is there any replacement for them?
If there is a replacement (and I do not expect pin to pin equivalent) what is the benefit in terms of price and performance?
Kevin Morris once wrote an article that he claimed was "xyz percent better than any other FPGA article" -- it was a really good piece about claims like 50% lower power etc.
But you are right -- it is an exciting time in FPGA space -- I remember when FPGAs first hit the street in 1985 and we just thought of them as being bigger PLDs with less deterministic timing ... who knew where they were headed...
"Low-Lower-Lowest" power and "Highest-Higher-High" performance... it's all good in the marketing world :-) Seriously though, I join Max in appreciating this summary of the Virtex-7 family features: more variety of chips according to application domain demands, more I/O bandwidth (faster transceivers and more of them), and more sophisticated analog circuitry (towards complete SoCs). It's an exciting time for FPGA hardware. Let's hope software will follow.