By Dave Bursky (10/23/2006 9:00 AM EDT), Courtesy of EE TimesSunnyvale, Calif
. -- Many-featured structured ASICs may be making a comeback, as both Faraday Technology Corp. and Atmel Corp. roll new platforms.
After the withdrawal of LSI Logic Corp. from the platform ASIC business early this year, the structured and platform ASIC market went through some soul searching. But solutions that offer lower overall development costs than cell-based ASICs and better density and performance than FPGAs still fill a market need.
From Faraday (Sunnyvale, Calif.) comes a highly integrated multifeature system-on-chip platform targeted at communications systems. The NC Express provides a high-speed serializer/deserializer (serdes) capable of 3.125-Gbit/second data transfers, a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet media access controller, four 10/100/ 1,000 Ethernet ports and 1.5 million ASIC gates, plus 1.5 Mbits of SRAM and other logic resources, said Christopher Moezzi, vice president of business development and marketing for Faraday.
Atmel (San Jose, Calif.) is fielding a more generic solution, the SiliconCity metal-programmable cell fabric (MPCF), which employs an eight-transistor logic building block to craft a programmable fabric that is said to rival the gate density of a chip implemented with standard cells. The fabric can be combined on a chip with predefined standard cells or complex blocks of intellectual property to create solutions that are programmable via the last few metal layers, said Jay Johnson, director of marketing for ASICs at Atmel.
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