Welcome to the new FlexRadio Community! Please review the new Community Rules and other important new Community information on the Message Board.
If you are having a problem, please refer to the product documentation or check the Help Center for known solutions.
Need technical support from FlexRadio? It's as simple as Creating a HelpDesk ticket.

What is the cost of an FGPA unit in the 6000 series and how does it compare to a current high end In



  • John M
    John M Member
    edited December 2015
    Thank you Tim for your patience and taking the time to explain the rationale behind what FRS is doing.  I look forward to seeing what the collective efforts of your staff at Flex generate in the future. 

    Best regards:  John  VE3INH

  • George - AB4FH
    edited March 2018
    A microprocessor takes several clock cycles to complete one of its standard instructions.  A Fast Fourier Transform  (most often a radix 2 decimation...can be looked up on Wikipedia) used in digital signal processing takes many standard instructions.  A Field Programmable Gate Array or FPGA,
    can be firmware programmed to execute a custom instruction in a single clock cycle.  So, the FPGA will always be hundreds to thousands of times faster than a general purpose microprocessor for the same clock speed.

    Oh, and another very important distinction, the FPGA will usually be configured as multiple parallel circuits, each executing their instruction at the same time.  So, it is a custom configured, heavily parallel, firmware circuit.
  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    how the FGPA (currently used in the 6000 series) compares in processing power to a high end Intel I-7 based CPU

    This is a difficult question to answer intelligently, because FPGAs and microprocessors are inherently different beasts.  It's a little bit like comparing a passenger car and a passenger train. They can both move people from one place to another, but they excel in very different domains. While both of them can be used to get you from (say) Boston to New York, they are developed, used, and targeted at very different types of solutions. 

    FPGAs are "slower" (in terms of clock rate) than general purpose CPUs, but because they are inherently parallel, they can get multiple things done in one clock cycle (unlike a single general purpose CPU).

    You'll find an interesting (technical but approachable) discussion here.


  • Norm - W7CK
    Norm - W7CK Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    So its true multiprocessing as apposed to Intel based processor running Windows which in reality more or less is only processing a single instruction at a time per processor.  Actually I don't think many Windows apps actually take advantage of multiprocessors yet.  Still doing the round-robin thing.....
  • Rob Fissel
    Rob Fissel Member
    edited December 2015
    I secured my 6300 for $2k shipped and insured on QTH. Flex will likely also be offering certified used 6xxx series radios in the near future as a fringe benefit of their trade up program. Don't lose all hope yet!
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Let´s humor this question which only took a few minutes of online research.
    You measure the performance of the FPGA in Gigaflops. 

    A Core2 Quad Q8400 gives you about 33 gigaflops

    A Core i7 4770k at 4.6 GHz about 100 Gigaflops.

    The Flex 6700 Virtex-6 121 Gigaflops.

    All pale in comparison with gaming console. The Xbox 360 has about 300 gigaflops of floating point performance, on a theoretical level. The PS3 is about 400 gigaflops.

    The Xbox One and PS4 are about six times more powerful on graphics. The Xbox One can do 1230 gigaflops, while the PS4 can do about 1840 gigaflops.

    Therefore we should all run our radios out of a Sony PS4.

    Or maybe just run it off a video card... Nvidia’s GTX Titan produces 4500 GFLOPS

    Or maybe, just maybe, you just can't measure it this way and all of this is just dumb answers to a dumb question....

  • Frank  WA3NHK
    Frank WA3NHK Member
    edited December 2016
    Hi Salvador,

    You might want to check the source of your numbers.  I'm seeing Linpack benchmarks of about 3.8 (i.e., under four) Gigaflops for a Core i7 4820K overclocked at 3.9 GHz using Turbo Boost.  The benchmark includes some Linux overhead and consists of a double-precision multiply of a 100x100 matrix.  

    Stepping back and doing a simple reasonableness check on your 4.6 GHz Core i7 number as an example I'm not sure how the 4.6 GHz CPU can perform 22 floating point operations on each clock cycle, which it would have to do in order to achieve 100 gigaflops.

    In general, comparing FPGAs to GPPs is like comparing chalk and cheese.  They're totally different animals with different missions in life.  A DSP engineer would never attempt to develop a true SDR such as the 6x00 without doing the bulk of the processing work in an FPGA.  It isn't a cost issue at all.  It's physics.

    The original post had valid questions on "why an FPGA?", although "price management" shouldn't have been intimated as the possible driver.  I could make this thread even more nonlinear by mentioning there's also a TI DaVinci processor (containing a DSP and a GPP) that's in the pipeline after the FPGA.  So I won't mention that.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited December 2016
    "It isn't a cost issue at all.  It's physics."

  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited January 2017


    If you would like to know why there is an expensive FPGA in the 6000 series, here is your answer:


    FPGA manufacturers have already developed and, therefore, provide much of the IP required for SDR (as well as many other applications). This is how much of the engineering development occurs today. In this age, no company can spend the time or money necessary to re-invent the wheel.

  • John M
    John M Member
    edited November 2016
    I just wanted to relay a final thank-you to the vast majority of kind individuals who responded to my queries in a patient and understanding manner. Your excellent responses have given me a wealth of information that has furthered my understanding of the advantages of FGPA's and their functionality over that of traditional computers.  This forum is an amazing and wonderful informational resource!

    Best regards:  John  VE3INH
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    You are welcome. 73s.

Leave a Comment

Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.