Programmable SoC Devices Ensure Security Of IP

March 1, 2002

Billed as the industryÕs first secure, in-system programmable system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices, the AT94S family melds together in a single package the SoC and serial configuration memory. The integration of configuration EEPROM with a programmable SoC in a tiny, 256-pin microBGA package is said to eliminate the need for external configuration memory and increased I/O, thus greatly reducing (by up to 70%) board space requirements and paving the way for wide use in high-volume portable consumer products. Based on the companyÕs Field Programmable System Level Integrated Circuit (FPSLIC) technology, the SoC combines all the building blocks of a basic systemÑlogic, memory and microcontrollerÑin an SRAM-based, monolithic, field-programmable device. It integrates a 20+ MIPS RISC processor, 5,000 to 40,000 FPGA gates, 20 to 36 KB of SRAM, and a variety of peripherals and interfaces, all on a single chip. As to the configuration EEPROM, it has a capacity of 256 Kb to 1 Mb. With an eye on intellectual-property (IP) security, the AT94S employs a patented security feature that keeps FPGA configuration and microcontroller data from being read from the EEPROM. A security bit can be set during programming to prevent the memory from being read back statically or during internal configuration of the FPSLIC device. Once the security bit is set, the only means of externally accessing the EEPROM is to erase it first. AT94S devices dissipate 0.05 mA in standby and 2 to 3 mA/MHz during operation. The family currently has three devices, with pricing for the AT94S05AL with 20 KB of SRAM, 256-Kb EEPROM, and 5,000 FPGA gates starting at $6.50 each/25,000. A starter kit, the ATSTK94 FPSLIC, is also available. For more information and availability, contact ATMEL CORP., San Jose, CA. (408) 441-0311.

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