I had a briefing a few weeks back with Microsemi. These guys continue to innovate and impress. This briefing was to discuss their latest FPGA family, the
Igloo2, which is aimed at industrial, commercial aviation, defense, communications, and security applications. This family takes advantage of non-volatile Flash memory to reduce the power consumption while increasing the security. Other features include general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs), 5G SERDES interfaces, and PCI Express endpoints.
The company claims that “when compared to other 5G SERDES-based FPGAs under 150K logic elements, the Igloo2’s high level of integration provides the lowest total system cost versus competitive FPGAs while improving reliability, significantly reducing power, and systematically protecting valuable customers’ design IPs.” The power savings comes via a unique Flash-Freeze real-time power management mode.
These FPGAs require only two power supplies, versus the three that are often needed for competitive devices. A combination of Microsemi and third-party design tools further simplify the process.
So if you have project that could take advantage of this technology, this family is worth a look.
Hi, I agree with your sentiment that MicroSemi bought the technology and it is theirs to do with as they see fit from a commercial perspective, but in terms of "atribution right" used loosely from literature, the "idea" or lightbulb moment really belongs and will always belong to Actel. I mean this in an attribution context, just as the inventor of the zipper remains its inventor even if Levi chnages the colour and puts it into the manufacture of its jeans. To break this ownership link is to disrespect the ingenuity of the pioneers of the technology and makes the "we have money we buy and we own it" mentality of lawyers legitimate. It's the thinking that says in a first to file patent system that someone can spend a decade inventing and perfecting something only to have another file the patent and "own" it. I'm of course talking about a moral point rather than a legal/business one, and perhaps we should say that it wasn't Actel but rather the engineer at Actel, but it's usually a team and an environment that makes these things possible. Please don't think you shouldn't have posted, if it provokes thought and discussion (and no blood it let in the process) then it was all worthwhile. What is one man's piqued interest in a subject often develops a life of its own and is like a rabbit down a hole :-)
Not if you ask me. All Microsemi did was to take the Actel technology and apply it to their dinasoar architecture and call it Igloo2 as near is I can tell from the preliminary datasheet and user manuals.
One of the best things about the architecture was that it DID NOT USE LUTs! I was able to look at the VERSATILEs and see that there was a way to create a progamable delay element that was contained entirely within the tile so as not be sensative to routing within the chip.
Using the Actel flash switches in their own architecture is fine, but dont go calling it an Igloo. Call it the next gen of what ever crap architecture they based the chip off of!
Wow, I wasn't expecting a response like this. When you aquire another company, that technology becomes your property, whether you developed it yourself or not. That's one of the main reasons why you aquire another company. So, it IS Microsemi technology.
I'm aware Actel has been using this technique for many years. But this is a new addition to the family with a bunch of new features, which is why I covered itin the first place.
Well that sucks! It looks like Microsemi is ditching the universal structures that Actel were notable for! The Igloo2 the guy is raving about switched from the Versatile structures to bog standard LUTs!
Yep, remember the RAD hard line as well. You're right, there's too much of this happening, and not just in electronics. Remember when Apple tried to sue the world for using "their" windows & mouse concept? By the way, I like your handle :-) They bought OrCAD and screwed it.
Sorry, I just get real pissy when i see people taking credit for other's accomplishments. Fact is Actel's FGPAs were zero power back then.
For Microsemi or any of the other big players to brag about it is tantamount to false advertising. Microsemi did not develope this, they bought it. It is not new by any stretch. That Actel fell is just another example of sales budget discrepancy.
They had FAR superior products that what was on the market at any given time, they just did not have the demand to make them monsters. Their flash structures made them naturally RAD hard, they were liturally the only game in town for that.
Yes that's right, I remember a sales presentation then. We opted for Xilinx at the time because their tools were more suitable. I mentioned CoolRunner from NXP because apparently some of the power loss that occurs in FPGA's is due to MUXes and while the Actel approach is better than others, the digital gate technology from NXP uses much less power again at the expense of some realestate.
Exactly, and why everyone doesn't do this is beyond me, because having to load from an external FLASH device at every power up before you can do something is just plain silly. They should merge this with NXP coolrunner technology to get low power and instant on with one power supply for all those apps that need instant on and want to keep prying eyes out of the design
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