March 3, 2008 -- One way that silicon suppliers reduce manufacturing costs is by discontinuing older product portfolios leading to microprocessor obsolescence. Multiple versions of those processor cores and a mix of integrated peripherals complicate the situation, leading to a plethora of silicon incarnations for each particular processor architecture. By integrating peripherals into a single die with a microprocessor, the supplier could target the microcontroller to a particular application domain with high volume needs. (Throughout this article, the term "microcontroller" refers to the entire component, including the processor core and integrated peripherals.)
As applications and the standards by which they operate evolve over time, the narrower market space of the microcontroller design makes it more vulnerable to obsolescence. This article examines the options that are available to designers facing microprocessor (and microcontroller) obsolescence using FPGAs.
By John Swan and Tomek Krzyzak. (Swan is an IP Product Marketing Manager at Lattice Semiconductor Corp. and Krzyzak is a co-founder and Vice President of Digital Core Design.)
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.