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Designing with the Spartan-6 Family

Course Description

Are you interested in learning how to effectively utilize Spartan®-6 FPGA architectural resources? This course supports both experienced and less experienced FPGA designers who have already completed the Essentials of FPGA Design course. This course focuses on understanding as well as how to properly design for the primary resources found in this popular device family.


Topics covered include device overviews, CLB construction, DCM and PLL clocking resources, global and I/O clocking techniques, memory, DSP and source-synchronous resources. Memory controller support and the dedicated hardware resources available in each of the sub-families (PCI Express® technology, memory controller block and GTP transceivers) are also introduced.


This course also includes a detailed discussion about proper HDL coding techniques that enables designers to avoid common mistakes and get the most out of their FPGA. A combination of modules and labs allow for practical hands-on application of the principles taught.
Software Tool
  • Xilinx ISE® Design Suite: Logic or System Edition 13.1
  • Architecture: Spartan-6 FPGA*
  • Demo board: Spartan-6 FPGA SP605 board
* This course focuses on the Spartan-6 architecture. Check with your local Authorized Training Provider for specifics or other customizations.
What will you learn?

After completing this comprehensive training, you will have the necessary skills to:

  • Describe all the functionality of the 6-input LUT and the CLB construction of the Spartan-6 FPGA
  • Specify the CLB resources and the available slice configurations
  • Define the block RAM and DSP resources available for the Spartan-6 FPGA
  • Properly design for the I/O block and SERDES resources
  • Identify the DCM, PLL and clock routing resources included with this family
  • Identify the features and supported memory controllers of the hard memory controller block
  • Properly code your HDL to get the most out of the Spartan-6 FPGA
  • Describe the additional dedicated hardware for all the Spartan-6 family members
Course Outline

Day 1

  • Spartan-6 FPGA Overview
  • CLB Architecture
  • HDL Coding Techniques
  • Lab 1: CLB Resources
  • Memory Resources
  • DSP Resources
  • Lab 2: DSP Resources
  • Basic I/O Resources
  • Spartan-6 FPGA I/O Resources


Day 2

  • Lab 3: I/O Resources
  • Basic Clocking Resources
  • Spartan-6 FPGA Clocking Resources
  • Lab 4: Clocking Resources
  • Memory Controllers
  • Lab 5: Memory Controllers
  • Dedicated Hardware


Lab Descriptions
  • Lab 1: CLB Resources – Using XST, synthesize a 32-bit incrementer with terminal count logic and pipelining registers. Verify that the appropriate resources were used with the RTL and technology viewers included with XST. Use the FPGA Editor to inspect the implemented results.
  • Lab 2: DSP Resources – Using XST, synthesize and implement a 17x17 MACC. Device usage will be verified via the FPGA Editor. Using the CORE Generator™ tool, construct, instantiate and implement a wide pipelined multiplier. Verify the results with the FPGA Editor.
  • Lab 3: I/O Resources– Using the ISE tools, complete the construction of the transmit SERDES datapath. Explore, through simulation, the behavior of the various blocks. Also use the FPGA Editor to explore the physical resources of the Spartan-6 FPGA used for construction of a high-speed interface.
  • Lab 4: Clocking Resources – Using the Clocking Wizard, build and optimize the appropriate PLL, DCM and clock routing resources. Also instantiate these resources into the design. After the design is implemented, verify hardware usage with the FPGA Editor and explore other aspects of the silicon layout.
  • Lab 5: Memory Controllers – Using the Memory Interface Generator, synthesize and implement a DDR3 memory controller utilizing the dedicated Spartan-6 FPGA Memory Controller Block (MCB). Download the design onto a demo board and use the ChipScope™ Pro tool to analyze the behavior of the controller.

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