The Spartan 6 and Artix 7 are two different kinds of FPGA that can be used for a number of different electronic projects. They are both made by Xilinx, and they are useful development tools for everything from ultrasound and wireless communication to motion detection, pattern recognition and more.
Full Featured Board
The Spartan 6 is a fairly fully-featured board with 6,822 logic slices and 48 general use I/0s, as well as Ethernet and HDMI ports. The Artix 7 is a lower power consumption board offered at a lower price point, and it runs slightly slower, has less storage and more limited outputs but it is still good for general use. The challenge, for most people, is choosing between the added logic capacity of the Artix 7 (which has more than twice the number of logic gates), and the more generous memory capacity of the Spartan 6 �” which could be useful for more sophisticated projects.
There are variations on the boards made by different people, and some of the variations have more outputs or more input options, extra memory, etc, but the basics are the same across the different boards. The Artix 7 is a ‘newer’ board, which means it’s probably going to have a longer lifecycle, and is a bit further from eventual obsolescence, although it’s unlikely really to be an issue. Even ASICs �” the precursor, in many ways, to FPGAs, are still useful and knowing how to work with them can be good for people who are looking for a career in electronics and programming. It’s a good idea to look for something moderately future proof, but either board really, will do the job.
The Artix 7 could be a better choice for a hobbyist looking to learn and make personal projects, and is often used in portables too.