San Jose, Calif.The inherent nature of Altera's MAX II CPLDslow-power and costmake them a good fit for portable applications, but until now weren't in the right packages.
As a growing number of portable applications embrace programmable logic, Altera is expanding into the sector by packaging its EPM240 and EPM570 MAX II CPLDs in 100-pin and 256-pin 0.5-mm Micro FineLine BGA (MBGA) and 100-pin 1.0-mm FineLine BGA (FBGA).
Using the MBGA packages, designers can integrate 50% more user I/O and logic elements for a given board area, on average, than competing CPLD products. The ultra-small packages coupled with the MAX II CPLD devices' power-down capability enables Altera to also deliver devices that are half the cost and power of competing devices.
"Our strategy is to take the capabilities and benefits of the MAX II architecture to the portable applications market," said Luanne Schirrmeister, director of low-cost product marketing.
"Because MAX II die size is so small, we created three new packages using the existing products that we had, and they are much, much smaller. And with new architecture on the MAX II gives us the highest density per board area," she added.
Schirrmeister attributed the company's latest effort to rapid diversification in portable products, not only in the smart phone market, but in the test and measurement and medical industries. Systems are increasingly becoming smaller and smaller in size.
It's no surprise that any time there's a handheld design, designers grapple with battery-power and thermal issues. Indeed, power consumption (both static and dynamic power) becomes extremely important.
"The MAX II architecture because of its unique design has the best solution in both cases," Schirrmeister said. "It's a look-up table architecture, which is why it is more like an FPGA than it is a CPLD inside. And with that FPGA architecture, the faster and the more it's doing, the more of an advantage it has on power consumption compared to other solutions in the market."
To conserve battery life, MAX II CPLDs employ a power-down capability; consequently, current draw is eliminated. If a customer turns the system on and drives power into the MAX II CPLD, nothing will happen. In a live system, MAX II can turn itself off, delivering true zero power.
"The second piece of the story is the zero power reference design that we've put together," she said.
To learn more about power savings using MAX II CPLDs, visit www.altera.com/max2-lowpower and www.altera.com/support/examples/max/exm-power-down.html.
Production versions of the EPM240 and EPM570 devices in the 100-pin FBGA package are available now. The EPM240 and EPM570 devices in 100-pin MBGA package will be available in August 2006. The EPM570 and EPM1270 devices in 256 pin MBGA packages will be available in September 2006. Volume pricing for the EPM240 M100 is $1.25 in 250,000 unit volumes.
Altera Corp. 1-408-544-7000, www.altera.com.