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Difference between FPGA and ASIC

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Integrated circuits are the combination of microprocessors, diodes, resistors, and transistors and are also known as chips or microchips. Each of the components in the chip has its own specific functions. Both, ASICs and FPGAs are types of integrated circuits. Though, they are similar in their circuit design but differ in lots of ways such as their purpose and functionality. ASIC is customized for a specific application’s need and is suited for bulk production whereas FPGA can be programmed in the field and is not suited for bulk production.


FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array, which is a chip that is reprogrammable with a collection of hundreds of thousands of logic gates that are connecting internally together to build a complex digital circuit. Basically, it is an integrated circuit that can be programmed by the user to capture the logic.

Advantages of FPGA

  • Capable of capturing more than one lakh designed gates.
  • Standard interfaces are provided.
  • It also provides built-in memories, processor cores, and many other things.
  • It is cheap for small volumes because one does not need to pay for fabrication.
  • Quite flexible.

Disadvantages of FPGA

  • FPGA is quite expensive for large volumes of data.
  • It has limited size options.
  • It has limited performance.

Types of FPGA

There are two main types of FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays): SRAM-based and flash-based. SRAM-based FPGAs use static random-access memory (SRAM) cells to store the configuration of the programmable logic gates. These types of FPGAs are volatile, which means that the configuration is lost when power is removed. Flash-based FPGAs use non-volatile flash memory cells to store the configuration. These types of FPGAs retain the configuration even when power is removed.


ASIC stands for Application Specific Integrated Circuit, built especially for a specific application or any purpose. If one compares this with any other device, it is having improved speed. Basically, it is an integrated circuit that is specified for one specific purpose.

Advantages of ASICs

  • It has improved speed when compared to any other logic device.
  • It is quite efficient.
  • It reduces space requirements.

Disadvantages of ASICs

  • High initial development costs.
  • Testing methods need to be developed which may increase the cost.
  • It is not flexible.

Types of ASICs

ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) can be broadly classified into two types: full custom ASICs and semi-custom ASICs.

  • Full custom ASICs: These are ASICs that are designed from scratch for a specific application. These ASICs provide the highest level of performance, power efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. However, the design process for these ASICs is complex and time-consuming and requires specialized expertise.
  • Semi-custom ASICs: These are ASICs that use pre-designed building blocks called “intellectual property” (IP) cores, which can be customized to fit the requirements of a specific application. These ASICs are less complex and time-consuming to design than full custom ASICs, and they are also more cost-effective. However, they may not provide the same level of performance and power efficiency as full custom ASICs.

Difference between FPGA and ASIC




Full Form Field Programmable Gate Array Application-Specific Integrated Circuit
Design Process Simple design process. Long and complex design process.
Expenses There are no non-recurring expenses. It is expensive as it involves the cost of circuit design and mask design.
Termed as Faster “time-to-market” product. Longer “time-to-market” product.
Speed Slower than ASIC. Fast.
Reusability and Flexibility Reusable and flexible. Not reusable and not flexible.
Wastage Un-avoidable No wastage of hardware.
Best suited When the required numbers are less. When the required numbers are large.


Both, FPGA and ASIC are technologies with their pros and cons. FPGA allows flexibility to save costs and obtain a higher number of results but when one needs a full or semi-custom design, then ultimately ASIC is the right choice in that situation as its chips are very well efficient and cost-effective.

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Last Updated : 31 Jan, 2023
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