By Microsemi SoC 44
The ProASIC3 family of FPGAs from Microsemi offers performance, density, and features beyond those of the ProASICPLUS® family. Nonvolatile Flash technology gives ProASIC3 devices the advantage of being secure, low-power, single-chip solutions that are instant-on. ProASIC3 is reprogrammable and offers time-to-market benefits at an ASIC-level unit cost. These features enable designers to create high-density systems using existing ASIC or FPGA design flows and tools. ProASIC3 devices offer 1 kilobit of on-chip, reprogrammable, nonvolatile Flash ROM storage as well as clock conditioning circuitry based on an integrated phase-locked loop (PLL). The A3P015 and A3P030 devices have no PLL or RAM support. ProASIC3 devices have up to 1 million system gates, supported with up to 144 kilobits of true dual-port SRAM and up to 300 user I/Os. ProASIC3 devices support the Arm Cortex-M1 processor. The Arm-enabled devices have Microsemi ordering numbers that begin with M1A3P (Cortex-M1) and do not support AES decryption. ProASIC3 devices have a very limited power-on current surge and no high-current transition period, both of which occur on many FPGAs.
Advantages to the designer extend beyond low unit cost, performance, and ease of use. Unlike SRAM-based FPGAs, Flash-based ProASIC3 devices allow all functionality to be instant-on; no external boot PROM is required. Onboard security mechanisms prevent access to all the programming information and enable secure remote updates of the FPGA logic. Designers can perform secure remote in-system reprogramming to support future design iterations and field upgrades with confidence that valuable intellectual property (IP) cannot be compromised or copied. Secure ISP can be performed using the industry-standard AES algorithm. The ProASIC3 family device architecture mitigates the need for ASIC migration at higher user volumes. Flash-based ProASIC3 devices exhibit power characteristics like an ASIC, making them an ideal choice for power-sensitive applications. This makes the ProASIC3 family a cost-effective ASIC replacement solution, especially for applications in the consumer, networking/communications, computing, and avionics markets.