If you have never been part of an FPGA project and now you must manage or develop an FPGA, then this book is for you. If you are trying to figure out how to build a design with an FPGA or use particular FPGA development tools, then this book is not for you.
Cofer and Harding start by taking you through the fundamentals so you will have a good idea what’s going on even if you have never heard of an FPGA. It then dives into the FPGA development cycle, and that is where the book shines. It is an easy read even when it is jumping between technical and management aspects of the process.
Early chapters address system-engineering problems and FPGA device-level decisions. In fact, presenting the many kinds of decisions and various options is what this book does best. Even seasoned FPGA project managers might pick up an idea or two.
The middle of the book takes a look at the design process, simulation, and optimization. The “Design Constraints and Optimization” chapter brings out various constraints and even has a section on avoiding over-constraints.
The last part of the book takes a look at more advanced topics, such as intellectual property and embedded hard cores. As with the rest of the book, the information is generic, making it applicable to any FPGA project. Specific examples are given from time to time—such as a list of commercially available soft core processors—but this provides more of a point of reference than recommending or depending upon a particular vendor.
Rapid System Prototyping with FPGAs is definitely a book that should be on any FPGA designer’s or manager’s shelf. Of course, it will likely be open on the desk for quite a while first.
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