CPLD vs FPGA

One of the most consistently brought up questions among the youngest engineers and FPGA beginners is whether they should use FPGA or CPLD, so here this article gives the more key difference between FPGA and CPLD to better understand this topic. 

Definition of FPGA

FPGA is a programmable logic device that harbors a complex architecture that allows them a high logic capacity, making them ideal for high gate count designs such as server applications, video encoders/decoders. Due to the fact of FPGA consist of a large number of gates the internal delay in this chip is sometimes unpredictable.

Definition of CPLD

CPLD is a programmable logic device that is based on electricity erasable programmable read-only memory has a comparatively less complex architecture as compared to FPGA and is much suitable in small gate count designs such as a glue logic

Difference between CPLD and FPGA:

  • FPGA contains up to 100000 of tiny logic blocks while CPLD contains only a few blocks of logic that reach up to a few thousand.
  • FPGA is internally based on lookup tables, while in CPLD form logic functions with a sea of gates.
  • FPGA is a RAM-based digital logic chip but in CPLD is EEPROM based.
  • FPGA is great for the more complex application while in CPLD is better for simpler ones.
  • In terms of architecture, FPGA is considered fine-grain devices while in CPLD are coarse grain.
  • FPGA is made up of tiny logic blocks while CPLD is made of larger blocks.
  • FPGA is great for more complex applications while CPLD is better for simpler ones.
  • FPGA is more expensive while in CPLD is much cheaper.
  • Delay is much predictable in CPLD than in FPGAs. 
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