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FFSA™: Fit, Fast and Structured - The optimum solution for SoCs?

As CMOS technology advances, the design gap between ASIC and FPGA widens, making it almost impossible for designers of mid-volume custom SoCs to select an optimum design for their projects. Selecting an ASIC delivers a fully tailored silicon solution with minimal power dissipation and low unit pricing. But the trade-off is large design costs and long implementation times. These factors are exacerbated when logic changes require a re-spin or the product is not as successful as anticipated.

FPGA solutions provide full flexibility as well as short implementation times.  However, FPGAs have much higher unit prices and higher power dissipation than ASICs. The risk with FPGAs is when production volumes increase beyond forecast and the higher unit prices become a profit drain.

Positioned between ASICs and FPGAs, Toshiba’s Fit-Fast Structured Array (FFSATM) technology offers a strong alternative for the design of custom SoC devices. FFSA features ASIC-like computational performance with low power dissipation at reduced design cost and affordable unit prices. Custom SoC designs traditionally targeting an ASIC solution can benefit from the reduced design cost and fast turn-around times associated with FFSA devices. Custom SoC designs preferring an FPGA solution can benefit from its low power dissipation and low unit price.

'Fit and Fast', FFSA represents a new approach for changing times that can provide a suitable solution for every customer. With FFSA, only the interconnect layers require customization. This can halve development times from six to three months and reduce development costs by approximately 65% when compared to an equivalent ASIC. When the design moves to production, FFSA lead times are around 75% of those for an ASIC.

All master slices are fitted with high-speed I/O, capable of communicating at up to 25Gbps over a choice of 25 different communications protocols. Even with these levels of performance, FFSA devices exhibit ASIC-level speed and power consumption.

Toshiba has produced a white paper with a detailed analysis of the relative benefits of ASIC, FPGA and FFSATM. To download your copy, please click here:

Click here to find out more about 'A Custom SoC Design Alternative to ASIC and FPGA'

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