Actel Enhances Low-Cost Starter Kit for Flash-Based FPGAs

12/7/2004 - Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced the availability of an enhanced low-cost starter kit for its widely used family of flash-based, reprogrammable ProASIC Plus field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Without raising the cost of the starter kit, Actel now offers designers an evaluation board with a 300K-gate ProASIC Plus FPGA in a PQ208 package, a larger gate-count device than was included in previous versions of the starter kit. The new ProASIC Plus starter kit also includes a compact, easy-to-use FlashPro Lite programmer and First Silicon Solutions' (FS2's) Logic Navigator software for debug, which is provided on a CD for a free 45-day evaluation period by default.

"ProASIC Plus designers now have expanded capabilities in the new release of the starter kit," said Saloni Howard-Sarin, director antifuse and tools marketing at Actel. "The integration of the Logic Navigator debugging capability and the higher gate-count APA300 device allows designers to prototype more designs and get them to market faster at the same low price."

The Logic Navigator software uses the programmer already included in the ProASIC Plus starter kit, requiring no additional debug hardware, thereby providing designers with a cost-effective way to evaluate both the ProASIC Plus device and the debug capabilities of the software. Further, upgrades to the compact, easy-to-use FlashPro Lite programmer provide designers with the ability to vary the test clock (TCK) frequency to address signal integrity issues in hardware, a feature with capabilities similar to the more expensive FlashPro programmer.

"Actel and FS2 have a long-standing relationship, first with the development of the FlashPro and FlashPro Lite series of programmers and now with our Logic Navigator solution," said Rick Leatherman, president of FS2. "The Logic Navigator debug software is tightly integrated with the FlashPro series of programmers to support in­system programming through the JTAG interface. With Logic Navigator software, designers will be able to expedite the debugging process and reduce the time required to complete their ProASIC Plus designs."

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. Additionally, users will be able to efficiently evaluate the performance and functionality of their designs for cost-sensitive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) alternative applications in many markets, including industrial, communications, networking and avionics.

The complete starter kit consists of an evaluation board with a 300K-gate APA300 ProASIC Plus device, Actel Libero Gold integrated design environment (IDE), the FlashPro Lite programmer, Logic Navigator software CD, programming cables, power supply, software, tutorials and support documentation. Licenses for Logic Navigator are available from FS2 for a free 45-day evaluation period at any time the user wishes to use the debug feature.

Within the Actel Libero Gold IDE, customers will have access to Mentor Graphics' 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.

Pricing and Availability
The enhanced ProASIC Plus starter kit will be available by the end of the year for $249. For further information about pricing and availability, please contact Actel.

About ProASIC Plus
The ProASIC Plus 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 reprogrammable flash construction makes Actel's ProASIC Plus 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 ProASIC Plus 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 ProASIC Plus 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.

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 more than 500 people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, CA, 94043-4655. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet::

The Actel name and logo are trademarks of Actel Corporation.

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