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Product category: Programmable Logic Devices
News Release from: Actel Europe
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 29 September 2005

Paper explains advantages
of quick-start FPGAs

Note: A free brochure or catalogue is available from Actel Europe about its services. Click here to request a copy.

Actel has published new results showing that its nonvolatile field programmable gate arrays offer up to 4000 times better power-on response time than competing SRAM-based FPGAs

Additionally, Actel's live at power-up (LAPU) single-chip FPGAs drive down total system costs by eliminating the need for additional power-up and initialisation circuitry. The LAPU nature of Actel's nonvolatile FPGA technologies makes them optimal solutions for automotive, consumer, medical, military and other applications that require immediate operation as well as low total system cost.

To help simplify selection of LAPU devices Actel has created a new LAPU classification system to quantify initialisation capabilities of various semiconductor solutions.

Further information regarding these results and Actel's LAPU classification system is outlined in a new live at power-up white paper published by Actel and available via the company's online LAPU resource centre.

The Actel LAPU device classification system has three levels: live at power-up (Level 0), live after power-up (Level 1) and live after system initialisation (Level 2).

Level 0 LAPU devices are operational between power-on and power-up (the time at which the applied voltage has reached the lower limit of system voltage and is stable) and include Actel's devices and other nonvolatile FPGAs, ASICs and some ASSPs.

Level 1 LAPU devices require a configuration download from internal memory but are operational before system initialisation and include ASSPs, Flash-in-package SRAM FPGAs and most CPLDs.

Level 2 LAPU devices are operational only after the initialisation of system clocks, resets, interfaces and memories and include most SRAM-based FPGAs and processors.

'FPGAs based on volatile SRAM make system start-up complex and expensive due to their need to load configuration data from external memory before they are operational', said Martin Mason, Director of Product Marketing at Actel.

'There is a lower cost and simpler solution available using Level 0 LAPU devices like Actel's FPGAs, which dramatically simplify application startup and provide significant reductions to total system cost, PCB size, power consumption and increase system reliability and security'.

Live at power-up FPGAs are the only devices that can assist in system start-up tasks, system configuration and supervision during voltage ramp-up, which can result in total system cost savings of 50% or more.

Martin Alcock, President and CEO of Integen Technologies said: 'By using Flash-based, live at power-up devices instead of SRAM-based FPGAs in our hospitality products, we were able to reduce our overall system component count by eliminating not only the need for external program memories but also reducing the design requirements of our power supplies at the same time'.

'We value the live at power-up capabilities offered by Actel's single-chip FPGAs, and we plan to leverage this technology for future designs'.

Actel's online LAPU resource centre provides designers with information regarding power-up issues for their next FPGA design, including links to white papers, product information brochures, application notes and other technical information via Actel's website. Request free introductory details about products from Actel Europe....

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