The shortage of semiconductor components has become a significant problem for many companies. In particular we see a trend in the field of FPGAs, where some vendor’s products can be challenging to purchase. Lead-time stretching to 12 months and more while prices have increased substantially.

This has led to a trend of reducing lead-time and cost by replacing these hard-to-find devices with alternative vendors and FPGAs, with shorter lead time, often at lower price. This however requires a non-trivial effort to migrate the FPGA design to the new target and in most cases also a new hardware spin to accommodate the new FPGA footprint.

The Solution

In a recent project a customer of ours needed to replace a hard-to-buy FPGA for an old design. As the product had gone through extensive qualification process, it would have been costly and time consuming to re-design and re-qualify the hardware. Synective Labs instead replaced the older FPGA with a new FPGA using a customer designed interposer-card, acting as an adapter to the previous FPGA footprint. This resulted in a drop-in replacement component without having to re-design original PCB nor require re-qualification.

Synective Lab’s experts migrated the vendor-specific elements such as memory blocks, PLLs, clock networks, I/O-buffers and boot-structure to the new FPGA’scounterparts and re-target the design.

Unique Expertise

As a leading expert in FPGA design, Synective Labs have unique expertise and experience working with a majority of the FPGA vendors and their toolchains. This includes partnerships with AMD/Xilinx, Intel/Altera and Achronix as well as experience with Lattice, MicroSemi and Efinix.

Based on this Synective Labs are able recommend a suitable replacement FPGA for any given design and help the customer find the fastest way to migrate to the new part. In addition Synective Labs offer services performing the design migration, taking the old and new target FPGA’s unique features into account for an optimal solution.

Finally, Synective Labs can also help updating schematics to assure proper operation in terms of power, booting, clocking, reset and I/Os etc. as well as performing initial bring-up of the updated hardware in the lab.

The Benefits

The benefits of this approach in summary:

  • Manageable lead times of FPGA component
  • Reduced price for purchasing the FPGAs
  • No need for re-qualification of product
  • No need for any major firmware or software update
  • Typically better power and thermal
  • management due to newer FPGA technology.
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