Actel Corporation has optimized the ARM(R) Cortex(TM)-M1 processor core for their IGLOO family of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The combination gives designers a low-power integrated platform for rapidly deploying portable products. In addition, as the only FPGA supplier to offer the industry-standard processor free-of-charge to customers, Actel enables designers to cost-effectively leverage the large installed base of software and design tools available for the ARM architecture, reducing their time-to-market and development costs.
Attractive for portable applications with 5 µW static power, IGLOO FPGAs consume more than 200x less static power than competitive FPGA offerings and deliver more than 10x the battery life of the current leading PLDs in portable applications. In an IGLOO FPGA, the Cortex-M1 core features very low operating current and static power, consuming only 24 µA in static mode and 3 µA in sleep mode. The innovative IGLOO Flash*Freeze mode, which enables easy entry and exit from ultra-low power modes while retaining SRAM and register data, reduces quiescent current to 20 µA. The Flash*Freeze feature also allows instant on/off cycling of the Cortex-M1 core for maximum performance and minimum power consumption.
Until now, a majority of portable designers have implemented their devices using a microcontroller in conjunction with a programmable logic device. They have used the microcontroller to implement the necessary processing, and have programmed the FPGA with additional application-specific features and functions not supported by the microcontroller. The combination of the ARM Cortex-M1 processor with IGLOO provides a single-chip solution that reduces cost, power, board space and design complexity. Because Actel FPGAs are virtually immune to tampering, designers have the peace-of-mind that their valuable IP will not be compromised or copied.
The Cortex-M1 processor is initially available for use in Actel’s 600,000-gate IGLOO device, the M1AGL600. Featuring 32-bit performance and consuming just 33 percent of available chip real estate on the device, the processor provides a good balance between size and speed, while also offering ample space for customization.
The M1AGL600 is available now with additional family members slated for 2008. Pricing starts at $3.70 for an M1 IGLOO device in volume.