I need to do digital signal processing on 8 analog lines at 10 kHz. This is quite a demanding task, and I was thinking that an FPGA might be the right approach. I am currently looking at dev kits from Xilinx, and since I have no experience with FPGA, I find it really hard to know how to choose the right chip. I imagined using a dev kit and expanding it using the I/O pins to connect to an 8-channels A/D chip and 8-channel D/A chip.
What are the differences between using Spartan, Virtex, Altera, etc.? I don't even know how to estimate how many gates I will need. Are there any rules of thumb for that? How do I make sure the clock speed will be enough (as a function of the number of adds and multiplies). Is it difficult to do floating-point processing on an FPGA, should I stick to fixed point math? What's the best way to get started?
I require a solution that's programmable using Linux. Xilinx provides this, but I'm not sure what the limitations are.