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FPGA Design Tools and Trends: What’s New in 2024 

17 June 2024

Introduction of FPGA Design Tools and Trends

In the rapidly evolving field of technology, Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) play a critical role in enabling customized, high-performance computing solutions. FPGA design tools are essential for engineers to create, test, and implement these complex designs. The landscape of FPGA design tools is continually advancing, with new tools and technologies emerging each year to meet the growing demands for performance, flexibility, and efficiency. 


In this blog, you will explore the FPGA design tools and Trends of 2024, highlighting their innovative features and how they can enhance your project. We will cover:

Fidus Systems Inc., a leader in transforming innovative ideas into great products, has extensive experience in FPGA design. Our capabilities in FPGA design, embedded software, hardware design, and signal integrity cover the full electronic system design lifecycle, ensuring top-tier technical proficiency and reliability. Explore our FPGA Design Services to learn more about how Fidus can support your projects.

Importance of Staying Updated with the Latest Tools

Staying updated with the latest FPGA design tools is crucial for several reasons:

  • Enhanced Performance: New tools often come with optimizations and features that improve the performance of FPGA designs.
  • Increased Efficiency: Modern tools can significantly reduce development time through improved workflows and automation.
  • Adaptability: Keeping up with the latest tools ensures that developers can leverage cutting-edge technologies to address evolving project requirements and challenges.

Fidus is committed to leveraging the latest tools and methodologies in FPGA design. Our expertise in High-Speed Design and Advanced FPGA Development allows us to deliver high-quality, efficient solutions tailored to our clients’ needs.

Common FPGA Design Tools in 2024  

Criteria for Selection 

Choosing the most suitable FPGA design tools requires evaluating several critical factors to ensure they meet the demands of modern FPGA projects. The criteria for selecting the FPGA design tools include: 

  • Ease of Use: The tool should have an intuitive interface and provide a smooth user experience. 
  • Feature Set: Comprehensive features that support various aspects of FPGA design, including synthesis, simulation, debugging, and verification. 
  • Performance: High performance in terms of speed and efficiency, particularly for large and complex designs. 
  • Support and Documentation: Robust support from the vendor and extensive documentation to help users troubleshoot and maximize the tool’s capabilities. 
  • Scalability: Ability to handle projects of varying sizes and complexities, from simple designs to advanced, high-performance applications.  

Common FPGA Design Tools 

Selecting the FPGA design tools involves considering various factors such as ease of use, feature set, performance, and support. In 2024, several tools stand out for their innovative features and user-friendly interfaces.  

Here are five commonly used FPGA design tools in 2024, selected based on the above criteria: 

1. Achronix Speedster7t : The Achronix Speedster7t FPGA design tool is known for its high-speed data processing capabilities and efficient resource utilization. It is designed to handle the most demanding FPGA applications. 

Key Features: 

  • High-performance data processing. 
  • Advanced timing analysis and optimization. 
  • Flexible architecture supporting high bandwidth and low latency. 
  • Comprehensive simulation and verification tools. 

Speedster7t stands out for its ability to manage complex and performance-critical designs, making it ideal for applications that require high-speed data throughput. 

2. Altera Quartus Prime : Quartus Prime from Altera, an Intel Company, offers robust support for Altera FPGAs. It features an intuitive interface and a comprehensive suite of tools for design, synthesis, simulation, and verification. 

Key Features: 

  • High-Level Synthesis (HLS) capabilities.  
  • Advanced design optimization tools. 
  • System-on-Chip (SoC) integration. 
  • Power and area optimization. 

Quartus Prime is highly regarded for its powerful design and debugging tools, making it a preferred choice for developers working with Intel/ Altera FPGAs. Its ability to handle complex designs efficiently makes it a top contender. 

At Fidus, we specialize in  Altera FPGA and SoC Development, utilizing Quartus Prime to deliver efficient and scalable FPGA solutions. As an Intel Gold Partner, we have deep expertise and access to advanced tools, ensuring top-notch design services. 

3. AMD/Xilinx Vivado Design Suite: The AMD/Xilinx Vivado Design Suite is renowned for its comprehensive design and debugging capabilities. It provides an integrated development environment that supports high-level synthesis, simulation, and verification. 

AMD artix

Key Features

  • High-Level Synthesis (HLS) for C/C++ to RTL conversion. 
  • Integrated logic analyzer and design rule checks. 
  • Advanced simulation and verification tools. 
  • IP integrator for easy integration of AMD/ Xilinx IP cores. 

Vivado excels in handling complex FPGA designs and provides a seamless workflow from design entry to implementation and verification. It is especially suitable for users working with AMD/Xilinx FPGAs, ensuring optimized performance and productivity. 

Fidus leverages Vivado in various projects to deliver optimized and high-performance FPGA solutions. Our expertise in FPGA Design Services ensures that we utilize Vivado’s full capabilities to meet client needs. As an AMD Premier Partner, Fidus has exclusive access to the latest tools and technologies, enhancing our ability to deliver cutting-edge solutions. 

4. Lattice Radiant: Lattice Radiant software is tailored for Lattice Semiconductor’s FPGAs. It offers a user-friendly interface coupled with powerful design and verification capabilities. 

Key Features: 

  • Intuitive graphical user interface. 
  • Comprehensive IP library. 
  • Advanced timing analysis. 
  • Integrated debugging tools. 

Radiant is ideal for both simple and complex FPGA projects, providing a balance of usability and advanced features. It is especially suitable for developers looking for a streamlined design experience with Lattice FPGAs. As a Lattice Partner, Fidus is adept at using these tools to their full capabilities and provides electronic product development and consulting services for Lattice customers across diverse industries. These include FPGA-based embedded vision applications, machine vision, robotics, ADAS, video surveillance, FPGA-based machine learning/AI solutions, and more. 

5. Microchip Libero SoC: Microchip’s Libero SoC Design Suite provides an all-in-one solution for designing with Microchip’s FPGAs and SoCs. It integrates synthesis, simulation, and programming tools in a unified environment. 

Key Features: 

  • Unified design environment for synthesis and simulation.
  • IP catalog for easy integration of pre-verified IP blocks. 
  • Comprehensive debugging and verification tools. 
  • Power analysis and optimization. 

Libero SoC stands out for its ease of use and comprehensive toolset, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Its unified environment simplifies the design process, enhancing productivity. These tools represent the cutting edge of FPGA design in 2024, offering powerful features and innovative capabilities to help engineers meet the challenges of modern FPGA development. Whether you’re working on simple or complex projects, these tools provide the necessary functionalities to ensure successful outcomes. For more information on how Fidus can assist with your FPGA design needs, visit our FPGA Design Services

As FPGA designs become more complex and powerful, several key trends are emerging that influence the development tools and methodologies. These trends reflect the need for powerful computing, efficient coding methods, and robust verification processes. 

Cloud-Based Synthesis and Emulation 

Cloud-based synthesis and emulation tools are becoming increasingly popular due to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. These tools allow developers to leverage powerful computing resources without the need for significant upfront investment in hardware. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Accessibility: Cloud-based tools democratize access by eliminating the need for in-house tools, licenses, and servers. This trend opens up FPGA design to a broader audience, allowing more developers to participate in FPGA projects without needing extensive in-house infrastructure. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Developers can use these tools on a subscription basis, which is more economical than purchasing expensive equipment. This pay-as-you-go model helps manage costs more effectively. 
  • Scalability: Cloud-based solutions provide the necessary computing power to handle the growing size and complexity of FPGA designs, ensuring that developers can scale their resources according to project needs. 
  • Collaboration: Cloud-based tools facilitate easier collaboration among team members, as designs and simulations can be accessed from anywhere, fostering a more integrated development process

Relevant Tools and Providers: 

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) F1 Instances: Provides FPGA instances for development and testing, allowing developers to use high-performance computing resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. 
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Offers FPGA development environments with extensive resources and integration with other GCP services. 
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure’s FPGA services integrate seamlessly with other Azure tools, providing a comprehensive development experience. 
  • Intel Developer Cloud: Provides a robust environment for FPGA development with access to Intel’s powerful computing resources, facilitating efficient design, testing, and deployment. 

Fidus can leverage the latest cloud services when delivering our FPGA design projects, ensuring high-quality and scalable solutions. Our approach incorporates the most advanced tools and methodologies to support the unique needs of your FPGA projects. Explore our FPGA Design Services for more information on how we can assist you. 

High-Level Synthesis (HLS) Tools 

High-Level Synthesis (HLS) tools allow designers to generate RTL code using high-level programming languages like C and C++. This simplifies the design process and reduces development time, especially for complex algorithms that are more easily expressed in high-level languages. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Facilitating Complex Designs: HLS tools make it easier to write RTL for complex algorithms, translating high-level code into efficient hardware descriptions. 
  • Efficiency: These tools speed up the development process, allowing for faster iterations and optimizations, which is crucial for meeting tight development timelines. 
  • Reusability: HLS tools often allow for better reuse of code, making it easier to maintain and upgrade FPGA designs over time. 
  • Error Reduction: By using higher-level languages, HLS tools help in reducing errors typically associated with manual RTL coding. 

Popular HLS Tools: 

  • AMD/Xilinx Vivado HLS: Integrates seamlessly with Vivado Design Suite, providing an efficient workflow for converting C/C++ code to RTL. 
  • Intel HLS Compiler: Supports high-level design for Intel FPGAs, enabling developers to create efficient hardware from C/C++ code. 
  • Mentor Catapult: Provides advanced synthesis capabilities with extensive support for C++, offering a robust environment for HLS. 

At Fidus, we leverage HLS tools to optimize design processes and deliver efficient, high-performance FPGA solutions. Our FPGA Design Services encompass a wide range of methodologies, including HLS, to meet our clients’ diverse needs. 

Enhanced Verification Tools 

As FPGA designs grow in size and complexity, the importance of verification tools has increased. Enhanced verification tools ensure the functionality and reliability of designs through comprehensive testing methodologies. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Critical for Large Designs: Simulation becomes imperative for larger and more complex designs, enabling developers to identify and resolve issues early in the development cycle. 
  • Improved Accuracy: Advanced verification tools provide higher accuracy in detecting design flaws, reducing the risk of costly errors in later stages. 
  • Comprehensive Testing: These tools support a wide range of testing methodologies, including unit tests, integration tests, and system-level tests, ensuring thorough verification. 
  • Automation: Modern verification tools often include automated testing features, which speed up the verification process and ensure consistent test coverage. 

Emerging Tools and Methodologies: 

  • Cocotb: A Python-based testbench environment that simplifies the creation of testbenches and enhances productivity. 
  • Verilator: An open-source Verilog simulator known for its speed and accuracy. 
  • GHDL: An open-source VHDL simulator that offers robust simulation capabilities. 
  • UVVM (Universal VHDL Verification Methodology): Standardizes verification to improve efficiency and consistency. 
  • VUnit: A verification framework for VHDL and SystemVerilog that supports unit testing and continuous integration. 

Fidus excels in providing advanced verification services, including UVM Verification and other modern methodologies. Our expertise ensures that FPGA designs meet the highest standards of reliability and performance. 

Modern IDEs and Extensions 

The incorporation of modern Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and extensions aids in writing and managing code for complex FPGA designs. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Improved Coding Experience: Modern IDEs offer features that streamline the coding process, making it easier to handle complex designs. These tools support advanced debugging, code completion, and project management capabilities. 
  • Efficiency: IDEs integrate multiple tools and functions into a single environment, reducing the time spent switching between different applications. 
  • Collaboration: Many modern IDEs support collaborative features, allowing multiple developers to work on the same project simultaneously. 
  • Extensibility: IDEs often support plugins and extensions, enabling developers to customize their development environment to suit their specific needs. 

Popular IDEs and Extensions: 

  • Sigasi Studio: Supports VHDL, Verilog, and SystemVerilog with advanced debugging features. 
  • Visual Studio Code (VS Code): With extensions like TerosHDL, it provides a powerful environment for HDL development. 
  • Eclipse IDE: Offers a wide range of plugins for hardware design and verification. 

Fidus utilizes state-of-the-art IDEs and development environments to enhance our FPGA design services. Our Embedded Software Services also benefit from these modern tools, ensuring efficient and reliable code development. 

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) 

The integration of CI/CD practices in FPGA development ensures that code changes do not break existing functionality, promoting a more reliable development process. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Essential for Large Projects: CI/CD practices are crucial for managing large and complex designs, ensuring that new code is thoroughly tested before integration. This practice enhances development efficiency and reduces the risk of introducing errors into the codebase. 
  • Automation: CI/CD tools automate the testing and deployment process, allowing for faster and more consistent releases. 
  • Early Detection: By continuously integrating and testing code changes, CI/CD practices help in detecting and fixing issues early in the development cycle. 
  • Collaboration: CI/CD pipelines facilitate better collaboration among team members, ensuring that everyone is aware of the current state of the project. 

Popular CI/CD Tools for FPGA Development: 

  • Jenkins: An open-source automation server that supports continuous integration and delivery. 
  • GitLab CI/CD: Provides integrated CI/CD pipelines for streamlined development workflows. 
  • CircleCI: A continuous integration and delivery platform that automates the testing and deployment process. 

Fidus implements CI/CD methodologies in our FPGA development projects to maintain high standards of quality and reliability. Our FPGA Design Services are designed to incorporate these best practices for optimal results. 

Functional and Higher-Level HDLs 

The rise of functional and higher-level Hardware Description Languages (HDLs) offers new options for FPGA design, providing more abstract and efficient ways to describe hardware behavior. 

Key Benefits: 

  • Innovative Design Options: These languages provide new ways to approach FPGA design, making the process more efficient and adaptable. Functional and higher-level HDLs enable designers to focus on higher-level functionality rather than low-level implementation details. 
  • Abstraction: Higher-level HDLs allow for a more abstract representation of hardware, making it easier to understand and modify designs. 
  • Productivity: By simplifying the design process, these languages can significantly increase developer productivity. 
  • Integration: Many higher-level HDLs integrate well with existing design and verification tools, providing a seamless workflow. 

Popular Higher-Level HDLs: 

  • Chisel: A hardware construction language that provides a modern programming environment for digital design. 
  • SpinalHDL: An alternative hardware description language that offers a higher level of abstraction. 
  • Clash: A functional programming language for digital circuit design, based on Haskell. 

By embracing these trends and leveraging the latest technologies, Fidus can provide innovative and high-performance FPGA design solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers across various industries. 

Choosing the Right Tool for Your Needs 

Factors to Consider 

Selecting the right FPGA design tool involves careful consideration of several key factors to ensure the tool meets the specific needs of your project. Here are the main factors to consider: 

  • Project Complexity: Evaluate the complexity of your FPGA project. More complex projects may require advanced tools with comprehensive features such as high-level synthesis, detailed simulation, and robust debugging capabilities. 
  • Team Expertise: Consider the skill level and experience of your design team. Ensure that the chosen tool matches the expertise of your team members and that they are comfortable using it. 
  • Budget: Assess your budget for FPGA design tools. Some tools may require significant upfront investment or ongoing subscription fees. Balance the cost with the expected return on investment and the tool’s ability to enhance productivity and efficiency. 
  • Support and Documentation: Look for tools that offer robust vendor support and extensive documentation. This can help your team troubleshoot issues more effectively and make the most of the tool’s capabilities. 
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the tool is compatible with your existing development environment and integrates well with other tools and workflows you are using. 
  • Scalability: Choose a tool that can scale with your project’s requirements. This includes handling larger designs and more complex simulations as your project grows. 
  • Specific Requirements: Identify any specific requirements your project may have, such as support for certain FPGA families, specialized IP cores, or unique design constraints. Additionally, consider the need for optimization in terms of size and latency. High-level synthesis tools can simplify the design process, but if your project requires highly optimized and efficient code, manual coding might be preferable to achieve better control over optimization. 

Tailoring Tool Selection to Specific Projects 

Different FPGA projects have different needs, and selecting the right tool involves tailoring your choice to the specific requirements of your project. Here’s how you can approach this: 

  • Simple Designs: Tools like Lattice Radiant and Microchip Libero SoC are excellent for simpler designs. These tools offer user-friendly interfaces and sufficient capabilities for basic FPGA projects.
  • Complex Designs: For more complex designs, tools like AMD/Xilinx Vivado and Altera Quartus Prime are ideal. They provide advanced features like high-level synthesis, detailed simulation, and powerful debugging tools. 
  • High-Performance Applications: There are a variety of FPGAs across their portfolios, and some are better suited to high performance than others. Some FPGAs are designed specifically for high-performance applications, requiring fast data processing and efficient resource utilization. These high-performance FPGAs offer advanced features and capabilities that cater to demanding tasks.  
  • Innovative and Experimental Projects: Consider using functional and higher-level HDLs like Chisel and SpinalHDL for innovative and experimental projects. These tools offer a higher level of abstraction and flexibility. 

Conversely, other FPGAs are meant as more cost-effective, simpler solutions. These are ideal for applications with less demanding performance requirements, providing a balance between functionality and cost. By understanding the specific requirements of your project, you can select the FPGA that offers the best combination of performance, cost, and features to meet your needs. 

Looking ahead, several future trends are likely to further influence FPGA design tools: 

FPGAs in modern technology
  • Increased Use of AI and Machine Learning: AI and machine learning will play a larger role in FPGA design tools, helping automate complex tasks and optimize designs more efficiently.  
  • Enhanced Cloud Integration: The move towards cloud-based solutions will continue, offering more powerful and scalable tools accessible from anywhere. 
  • Greater Focus on Security: As FPGA designs are used in more critical applications, there will be a stronger emphasis on security features within design tools. 
  • Open-Source Collaboration: Open-source tools and collaborative development environments will become more prevalent, fostering innovation and making advanced tools more accessible. 
  • Integration with Emerging Technologies: FPGA design tools will increasingly integrate with emerging technologies such as quantum computing and advanced sensors, expanding the capabilities and applications of FPGAs. 


In this blog, we explored FPGA design tools of 2024 and discussed key trends shaping the future of FPGA development. The main points covered include: 

  • Common FPGA Design Tools: AMD/Xilinx Vivado, Altera Quartus Prime, Achronix Speedster7t, Lattice Radiant, and Microchip Libero SoC were highlighted for their comprehensive features and capabilities. 
  • Design Trends: Key trends such as cloud-based synthesis and emulation, high-level synthesis tools, enhanced verification tools, modern IDEs and extensions, CI/CD practices, and functional and higher-level HDLs were discussed. 
  • Choosing the Right Tool: Factors to consider when selecting an FPGA design tool include project complexity, team expertise, budget, support, compatibility, scalability, and specific project requirements. 

Fidus Systems Inc. remains committed to staying at the forefront of these trends, continually adopting the latest tools and practices to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients. Our comprehensive FPGA design services ensure that we provide innovative and high-performance solutions tailored to your specific needs. For more information on how Fidus can assist with your FPGA design projects, visit our FPGA Design Services page. 

Don’t let FPGA problems slow you down. Let our experts guide you. 

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