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Actel boasts compact, low-cost FPGAs

Posted: 03 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA? nano? battery? portable markets?

Actel Corp. has introduced nano versions of its IGLOO and ProASIC 3 FPGAs that will benefit high-volume, portable consumer markets.

These new devices lower power usage to 2?W in standby mode, while package size shrinks to 3mm x 3mm. At the same time, the commercial temperature range has been extended to sub-zero and packaged devices are offered with a zero lead time. The company said it has also shattered the FPGA cost barrier by launching more than 50 variants of its nano FPGAs for less than $1 per piece.

In the case of IGLOO nano FPGAs, the buzzwords to note are:

  • nanoPower

  • nanoSize

  • nanoTemp

  • nanoLead-time

  • nanoPrice

Atmel also supports known good die business to meet the lead times and volume demands of portable applications such as smart phones, PDAs, personal medical monitoring and personal navigation devices, eBooks and portable point-of-sale tools.

Complex functionality
With power consumption as low as 2?W, IGLOO nano FPGAs range in densities from 10k to 250k system gates. These devices support 1.2V to 1.5V core and I/O operation, ultralow-power Flash Freeze mode with bus hold capability, as well as enhanced I/O features, such as hot swapping and Schmitt trigger inputs.

Actel provides its low-power IGLOO nano FPGAs with a 3mm x 3mm package, which is believed to be smallest package for any PLD in the market. Along with the company's existing portfolio of small 4mm x 4mm, 5mm x 5mm, 6mm x 6mm and 8mm x 8mm packages, the new little package makes IGLOO nano FPGAs ideally fit power-sensitive, space-constrained handheld devices.

It also upgrades its standard commercial ambient operating temperatures, giving new ranges for IGLOO nano FPGAs from -20C to +70C, allowing many of these portable applications to be used in sub-zero environments globally.

Faster turnaround
In a fast-moving environment, some customers want shifting from a prototype and ramp to full production as quickly as possible. To respond to this type of market need that's moving at warp speed, Actel has built a strategic inventory position. Both IGLOO nano and ProASIC3 nano FPGAs in densities of 60k, 125k and 250k gates are now available in volume with zero lead times. Additional densities will be in volume production by early 2009. Customers also have easy access to known good die, offering size and cost benefits as well as design integration advantages.

Affordable package
In high volume, pricing for the 10k-gate A3PN010 starts at $0.69 in a QNG48 package and $0.49 in known good die. Actel will give more than 50 product variants under $1 for high-volume applications.

Tool support
The requisites for IGLOO and ProASIC3 nano FPGAs are now available in Actel's Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE) ver 8.4. This power-optimized development environment has power-driven layout, battery estimation and advanced power analysis.

For quicker prototyping and programming, designers can leverage at once the Actel IGLOO Icicle Kit for $99. The 1.4-inch x 3.6-inch kit has ultralow-power attributes, flexible implementation options and battery-saving advantages of the company's standard low-power IGLOO FPGA for portable applications. The kit also helps designers to rapidly program, evaluate and modify the IGLOO-based portable designs.

Actel also plans to offer a low-cost nano starter kit, priced at $49.95, and fits an IGLOO AGLN250 in a VQG100 package. With multiple voltage levels offered, this board will allow faster prototyping and access to all I/O pins and enable Flash Freeze mode control and battery operation.

- Clive Maxfield
Programmable Logic DesignLine

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