4.8  Summary

In this chapter we have covered FPGA programming technologies including antifuse, SRAM, and EPROM technologies; the programming technology is linked to all the other aspects of a programmable ASIC. Table 4.7 summarizes the programming technologies and the fabrication processes used by programmable ASIC vendors.

TABLE 4.7  Programmable ASIC technologies.

 

 

Actel

Xilinx LCA 1

Altera EPLD

Xilinx EPLD

Programming
technology

Poly–diffusion
antifuse, PLICE

Erasable SRAM

ISP

UV-erasable EPROM (MAX 5k)

EEPROM (MAX 7/9k)

UV-erasable EPROM

Size of
programming
element

Small but requires contacts to metal

Two inverters plus pass and switch devices. Largest.

One n - channel EPROM device.

Medium.

One n - channel EPROM device.

Medium.

Process

Special: CMOS plus three extra masks.

Standard CMOS

Standard EPROM and EEPROM

Standard EPROM

Programming method

Special hardware

PC card, PROM, or serial port

ISP (MAX 9k) or EPROM programmer

EPROM programmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

QuickLogic

Crosspoint

Atmel

Altera FLEX

Programming
technology

Metal–metal antifuse, ViaLink

Metal–polysilicon antifuse

Erasable SRAM.

ISP.

Erasable SRAM.

ISP.

Size of
programming

element

Smallest

Small

Two inverters plus pass and switch devices. Largest.

Two inverters plus pass and switch devices. Largest.

Process

Special, CMOS plus ViaLink

Special, CMOS plus antifuse

Standard CMOS

Standard CMOS

Programming method

Special hardware

Special hardware

PC card, PROM, or serial port

PC card, PROM, or serial port

All FPGAs have the following key elements:

  • The programming technology
  • The basic logic cells
  • The I/O logic cells
  • Programmable interconnect
  • Software to design and program the FPGA

1. Lucent (formerly AT&T) FPGAs have almost identical properties to the Xilinx LCA family.


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