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Actel announces 'world's lowest cost FPGAs'

Posted: 27 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:actel? proasic3? proasic3e? programmable logic? field-programmable gate array?

Actel Corp.'s third-generation flash-based programmable logic solutions are touted by the company to be the world's lowest cost fpgas.

"Starting at $1.50, these new ProASIC3 devices represent the world's lowest cost FPGA solutions while delivering performance and security advantages over comparable SRAM-based products," said John East, president and CEO of Actel. "Flash-based FPGAs are now able to provide secure, low-power, live at power-up, reprogrammable solutions that deliver the time-to-market advantages of FPGAs at ASIC-like unit costs, mitigating the need for ASIC migration at higher volumes."

Building on the success of its ProASIC Plus family, the ProASIC3 and ProASIC3E devices deliver 64bit 66MHz PCI performance and are said to be the industry's first FPGAs with on-chip user flash memory. These products range in density from 30,000 to 3 million system gates and deliver technology-leading integrated secure in-system programmability (ISP).

"Over the past 10 years, flash technology has evolved into a disruptive technology, dramatically impacting every application it has touched," added East. "For example, flash technology has transformed cellphones, cameras and video recorders into revolutionary variants of their predecessors. Flash is now poised to do the same for the programmable logic market."

In addition to low unit cost, the new ProASIC3/E families also lower overall system costs by eliminating the need for various components on the system board. They provide 1,024 bits (128 x 8 pages) of on-chip user nonvolatile flash memory and clock conditioning circuits based on up to six on-board phase-locked loops (PLLs), and also come with up to 504Kb of embedded true dual-port SRAM and up to 616 user I/Os, offering 66MHz 64bit PCI performance.

Unlike SRAM-based FPGAs, on-board security mechanisms prevent access to all the programming information, and reprogramming can be securely performed in-system, using the industry-standard 128bit AES algorithm to support future design iterations and field upgrades. The ProASIC3/E families also incorporate FlashLock, said Actel, providing a unique combination of reprogrammability and design security without external overhead.

Samples of the ProASIC3E 600 device are available through the company's early access program. Production quantities are scheduled for Q4 2005. Pricing for ProASIC3 starts at $1.50, with seven devices under $10 in 250,000-unit quantities.

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