Actel Rolls Out Easy-to-Use Solution for Reprogrammable FPGA Devices

3/18/2003 - Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced the availability of a low-cost starter kit for its cost-competitive flash-based, reprogrammable ProASICPLUS field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices. Priced at $249, the ProASICPLUS Starter Kit is a complete package consisting of an evaluation board with an APA075 ProASICPLUS device, Actel Libero Gold integrated design environment, a low-cost programmer, programming cable, power supply, tutorials and support documentation. With the new starter kit, Actel customers are able to explore various benefits of the nonvolatile, low-power FPGAs, including in-system programmability (ISP), I/O advantages and Actel's FlashLock on-chip security system, as well as efficiently evaluate the performance and functionality of their designs for cost-sensitive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) alternative applications in the industrial, communications, networking and avionics markets.

"We believe that with the availability of our ProASICPLUS product offerings, including the new starter kit, we are able to provide our customers with a complete package at a very low price point so that they may begin creating designs for cost-sensitive applications today," said Barry Marsh, vice president of product marketing at Actel. "We are already seeing an unprecedented number of design wins in multiple market segments with Actel's flash-based ProASICPLUS FPGA family due to its single-chip, ASIC-like architecture and inherent security features and anticipate increased growth as we extend our flash-based product offerings."

Designers using the ProASICPLUS Starter Kit will be able to quickly create a design and program a device for minimal cost. Within the Actel Libero Gold integrated design environment, customers will have access to Model Technology's ModelSim® simulation and design verification software; Synplicity's Synplify® synthesis software; and the Actel Designer Series place-and-route software. Designers will also have the ability to generate a STAPL file that can be used for programming the kit's evaluation board using Actel's low-cost programmer.

The Design Security Advantage
As the complexity, capabilities and market share of FPGAs increase so does the need to secure the intellectual property implemented in FPGAs. Nonvolatile flash FPGAs, like Actel's ProASICPLUS family, offer levels of design security beyond conventional SRAM-based FPGAs and ASIC solutions. Actel's ProASICPLUS FPGAs are user programmed with a key, ranging from 79 to 263 bits, that blocks external attempts to read or alter the configuration settings. Built from the ground up to offer enhanced design security, Actel has included its on-chip security mechanism, called FlashLock, that enables designers to lock the design after programming to prevent unauthorized changes. The FlashLock feature can also be used to thwart common security problems faced by designers using conventional SRAM devices, including overbuilding, cloning, reverse engineering and denial of service. More information can be found at the Actel Security Resource Center.

The ProASICPLUS family, Actel's second-generation of flash-based FPGAs, consists of seven devices ranging in density from 75,000 to 1-million system gates. The combination of a fine-grained, single-chip ASIC-like architecture and nonvolatile flash configuration memory makes Actel's ProASICPLUS offering a strong ASIC alternative. The devices are live at power up, low power, highly secure and require no separate configuration memory, all characteristics shared by ASICs. The ProASICPLUS architecture and design methodology support popular FPGA and ASIC tool flows, reducing time to market and permitting designers to migrate easily between FPGA and ASIC solutions. Key features of the ProASICPLUS family include multiple phase-locked loops (PLLs), support for up to 198k bits of two-port embedded SRAM and 712 user-configurable I/Os, and improved ISP.

Pricing and Availability
The low-cost ProASICPLUS Starter Kit will be available in April for $249. All seven devices of the ProASICPLUS FPGA family are also available in all packages, speed grades and temperature ranges. For further information about pricing and availability, please contact Actel.

About Actel
Actel Corporation is a supplier of innovative programmable logic solutions, including field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) based on antifuse and flash technologies, high-performance intellectual property (IP) cores, software development tools and design services, targeted for the high-speed communications, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) replacement and radiation-tolerant markets. Founded in 1985, Actel employs approximately 500 people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 955 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, Calif., 94086-4533. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet:

The Actel name and logo are registered trademarks of Actel Corporation.

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