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Electronic systems designers use FPGAs for their prototype implementations, taking advantage of the devices' reprogrammability to validate hardware and software. Once the design is ready for volume production, designers are finding that certain types of ASICs - specifically, ASICs with a silicon platform and toolset that enable concurrent design with the FPGA, using identical I/Os, memory resources, and IP - help them meet power, performance, and cost targets. With these criteria, the designer can lower the risk of generating an ASIC-based design containing functional or timing errors. This paper discusses the evolution, architecture, and capabilities of Altera HardCopy ASICs as a package- and pin-compatible FPGA counterpart that is ideal for taking designs into volume production.
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