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Renesas enters FPGA market

Renesas has announced that it is entering the Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) market with a new line of very low-cost, very low-power devices.

The ForgeFPGA Family will address the underserved market need for relatively small amounts of programmable logic that can be quickly and efficiently designed into cost-sensitive applications.

These devices will provide dramatic cost savings versus other alternatives, including non-FPGA designs, according to Renesas. By providing a high level of integration, they reduce overall board and system costs and will help to open up applications that previously couldn’t use FPGAs due to cost constraints, including high-volume consumer and IoT applications.

The ForgeFPGA Family will serve applications that require less than 5,000 gates of logic, with initial device sizes of 1K and 2K Look Up Tables (LUTs). Standby power of less than 20 microamps is projected for the first devices, about half the power of competing devices.

Users will be able to download the development software at no cost and with no license fees. The software offers two development modes to accommodate both new and experienced FPGA developers: a “macrocell mode” that uses a schematic capture-based development flow, and an “HDL” mode that provides a familiar Verilog environment for FPGA veterans.

The ForgeFPGA Family development team is the same group that introduced the highly successful GreenPAK programmable mixed-signal devices at Silego Technology, which came into the Renesas portfolio as part of the recently completed Dialog Semiconductor acquisition.

The new FPGAs will use the same successful business model and infrastructure as the GreenPAK line: free, easy-to-use software with no license fees, and available worldwide applications support.

"It’s exciting to see an established semiconductor vendor like Renesas tackling a long-ignored portion of the FPGA market: small, low-cost FPGAs that sip microwatts in standby mode,” said Steve Leibson, Principal Analyst, TIRIAS Research. “Having scooped up programmable device maker Silego with its acquisition of Dialog earlier this year, Renesas seems determined to repeat Silego’s previous success with its ultra-low-end GreenPAK line of programmable mixed-signal devices and super-simple design tools, this time in a low-end FPGA line that will appeal to many companies who just need a bit of programmable logic – a thousand gates or so – to get the job done in myriad products including billions of embedded sensors and IoT devices."

Author
Neil Tyler

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