Lattice Semiconductor is carving out a substantial niche in the programmable world with its focus on small, low-cost, low-power devices, which it says are targeted at all things mobile and all things connected.
The company says its iCE40 family offers the world's smallest FPGAs, the MachX03 FPGA family provides the lowest-cost per I/O, and the new ECP5 family completes the picture with their role as small-footprint, high-performance FPGAs.
These days, the majority of FPGA vendors aim at replacing ASICs and ASSPs in systems. Lattice takes a different view. For the price-conscious, high-volume markets it is targeting -- things like small cells, microservers, broadband access, and video applications -- Lattice intends its ECP5 FPGAs to act as companion chips. The idea is that the stable functions will be implemented in an ASIC or ASSP, while new and evolving features and functions will be implemented in an ECP5.
One reason Lattice says its new family is breaking all the rules is that these devices combine lower cost with lower power and higher functional density than other offerings -- all in the smallest packages to meet the unique needs of today's fastest-growing, highest-volume markets.
The ECP5 family has been designed from the ground up for high-volume deployment. After surveying the market and talking to many customers, Lattice opted for:
- Low cost over increased capacity (25K-85K LUTs at up to 40% lower cost than the alternatives)
- Low power over high performance (SerDes-based designs start at 0.25 W per channel; overall these devices use up to 30% less power than the alternatives)
- High functional density over larger packages (88K LUTs in a 10mm x 10mm package; up to twice the functional density of the alternatives)
Customers can start designing with the ECP5 family now. Sample devices are available immediately, with production qualification scheduled for August. The devices are supported by the Lattice Diamond design environment. Also, ECP5 IP and reference designs are available, along with an ECP5 development board, as illustrated below.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting