Product category: Programmable Logic Devices
News Release from: Actel Europe | Subject: Igloo family
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 30 August 2006

Flash-based FPGAs put freeze on power consumption

Flash-based FPGA family consumes 4x less static power than its nearest competitor and delivers more than 5x the battery life of the current leading PLDs in portable applications.

Note: A free brochure or catalogue is available from Actel Europe on the products in this news release. Click here to request a copy.

Addressing the tight power budgets of the portable market, Actel has introduced the industry's lowest power field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), the Actel Igloo family. With 5uW static power, the Flash-based family consumes 4x less static power than its nearest competitor and delivers more than 5x the battery life of the current leading PLDs in portable applications, thus setting a new bar for low power consumption. Because of the short product life cycles and competition in this marketplace, designers require a growing list of features and complexity, but not at the expense of draining the battery.

This makes the reprogrammable, fully featured Actel Igloo solutions attractive as an alternative to ASICs and CPLDs for portable applications.

Market research firm iSuppli predicts that as much as $3 billion of the estimated $20 billion ASIC market could shift to low-power FPGA solutions.

The only low-power FPGA solution to support 1.2V, the Actel Igloo family has several power modes to optimise power consumption the Flash Freeze mode, a low-power active mode and a sleep mode.

While in Flash Freeze mode, Actel's Flash Freeze technology conserves power while maintaining FPGA content.

Device I/Os are tristated and SRAM and register content is maintained, but not clocked.

Further, the Flash Freeze pin enables designers to quickly and easily enter or exit the Flash Freeze mode within 1us.

Alternatively, Actel's low-power active mode allows the Igloo device to directly control when the system goes into low-power mode.

While in the low-power active mode, the Actel Igloo devices are able to offer industry-leading low-power capabilities with the FPGA core, clocks and all I/O functional.

When designing high-density devices, the Igloo sleep mode can drop power below 25uW when power to the FPGA core is removed.

'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 optimisation techniques, including the unique Flash Freeze mode', said Dennis Kish, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Actel.

'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'.

'Moving forward, we expect that this family will stimulate market demand for feature-rich programmable solutions with higher density and lower power'.

The Actel Igloo family features up to three million system gates and builds on the characteristics of Actel's successful ProASIC3 Flash FPGAs, such as live-at-power-up and secure AES-based in-system programmability.

The Actel Igloo family offers up to 616 user I/Os, six phase-locked loops (PLLs), 504Kbit of RAM and 350MHz performance in both commercial and industrial grades.

Addressing the concerns of space-constrained portable applications, Actel Igloo family also offers a small form factor (8 x 8mm), high-density (196-pin) chip scale package.

To help maximise designer productivity and ease design for the Actel Igloo devices, Actel has optimised its Libero integrated design environment (IDE) for low power support.

Additionally, the SmartPower analysis tool within the Libero IDE allows users to characterise power consumption in the Actel Igloo devices.

Immediate prototyping of the Actel Igloo family is available now using the company's Flash-based ProASIC3 family.

With pricing starting at less than $1.50 in volume shipments, the first parts in the Actel Igloo family will be available in late Q4 2006.

The optimised Libero IDE for the low-power family is planned for release in September 2006.

A reference design for a low-power mass storage solution for portable devices will be available from PalmChip Corporation in September 2006.

Additional reference designs will be available in Q4 2006. Request a free brochure from Actel Europe....

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