editor's blog
Subscribe Now

To be, or not to be – an FPGA?

A few years ago, we shined light on the fact that FPGAs were stealthily appearing in places where they were not announced.  Namely, both Altera and Lattice semiconductor sell devices that are ostensibly CPLDs, but whose inner workings are most certainly FPGA.  It turns out that the latest process geometries are more friendly to the FPGA architecture than to the classic CPLD architecture, and for people accustomed to using CPLDs, there is really no reason they need to know that an FPGA is hiding under the cap.  

More recently, Xilinx introduced their Zynq family of embedded processors.  Check out the marketing materials – it’s a processing subsystem with … extensibility.  The FPGA word is conspicuously absent.  Is there FPGA fabric in there?  You betcha!  Are they marketing it as an FPGA? Nope.  Don’t want to scare away the embedded folks.

Finally, there is the case of QuickLogic.  A few years ago, they started pretending to NOT be an FPGA company.  They coined the term “CSSP” for – “customer specific standard product” and they started doing the design work for their customers rather than distributing and supporting an FPGA tool chain.  Were those still FPGAs inside there?  Yep.  They were.  

However, now the case of QuickLogic has gotten even MORE interesting.  In their latest family – ArcticLink III VX – there is one important difference from ArcticLink II VX that’s completely hidden from view, and not found in any of the marketing materials.  ArcticLink III VX is – NOT an FPGA.  The FPGA fabric disappeared quietly in the night between versions of the product.  With the new smaller geometry process, it turns out that QuickLogic was able to make hard versions of everything their customers had been wanting more easily than adding antifuse FPGA fabric to the device.  As a result – the new product is probably more correctly an ASSP, but we won’t tell.  

Oh, wait – we just did.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 21, 2022
Here are a few teasers for what you'll find in this week's round-up of CFD news and notes. How AI can be trained to identify more objects than are in its learning dataset. Will GPUs really... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community si...
Jan 20, 2022
High performance computing continues to expand & evolve; our team shares their 2022 HPC predictions including new HPC applications and processor architectures. The post The Future of High-Performance Computing (HPC): Key Predictions for 2022 appeared first on From Silico...
Jan 20, 2022
As Josh Wardle famously said about his creation: "It's not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs ... It's just a game that's fun.'...

featured video

AI SoC Chats: Understanding Compute Needs for AI SoCs

Sponsored by Synopsys

Will your next system require high performance AI? Learn what the latest systems are using for computation, including AI math, floating point and dot product hardware, and processor IP.

Click here for more information about DesignWare IP for Amazing AI

featured paper

Clinical-Grade AFE Measures Four Vital Signs for Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Sponsored by Analog Devices

Simplify the design of wearable remote patient monitoring devices by measuring four vital signs with one triple-system vital signs AFE. This single-chip AFE integrates three measurement systems (optical, ECG and bio-impedance) to obtain four common vital signs: electrocardiogram, heart rate, blood-oxygen saturation, and respiration rate.

Find Out More

featured chalk talk

TDK Magnetic Sheets For EMI and NFC Applications

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and TDK

Today’s dense, complex designs can be extremely challenging from an EMI perspective. Re-designs of PCBs to eliminate problems can be expensive and time consuming, and a manufacturing solution can be preferable. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Chris Burket of TDX about Flexield noise suppression sheets, which may be just what your design needs to get EMI under control.

Click here for more information about TDK Flexield Noise Suppression Sheets