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FPGA addresses low-power requirements of mobile market

Posted: 30 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Actel? FPGA? cellphone? Igloo? ProASIC3?

Actel Corp. rolled out a new family of FPGAs that is touted to be the industry's lowest-power FPGAs in the market.

Designed for the tight power budgets of the portable market, the flash-based Igloo family consumes 4 times less static power than its nearest competitor and delivers more than 5 times the battery life of leading PLDs in portable applications, said Actel. The Igloo devices offer an attractive alternative to ASICs and complex PLDs for designers that need to add features and complexity without draining more energy from a battery, added the company.

Citing a forecast by market researcher iSuppli Corp., Actel said as much as $3 billion of the estimated $20 billion ASIC market could shift to low-power FPGA solutions.

"For low-power portable applications, we have built a game-changing solution combining the inherent low-power benefits of our leading flash process, reprogrammable ProASIC3 FPGA architecture and flexible power optimization techniques, including the unique Flash Freeze mode," said Dennis Kish, Actel's senior vice president of sales and marketing, in a statement. "As a result, the new Actel Igloo family is aggressively positioned against low-power ASICs and CPLDs, the traditional solutions for smart phones and portable media players."

The Actel Igloo family features up to 3 million system gates and builds upon the characteristics of Actel's ProASIC3 flash FPGAs, such as live-at-power-up and secure AES-based in-system programmability. Members of the Igloo family offer up to 616 user I/Os, six phase-locked loops, 504Kbits of RAM and 350MHz performance in both commercial and industrial grades.

Immediate prototyping of the Actel Igloo family is available using the company's flash-based ProASIC3 family. Pricing starting at less than $1.50 in volume shipments, with the first parts scheduled to be available late in the fourth quarter. The Libero integrated design environment for the low-power family is planned for release next month.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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