Altera contacted Sparx in March to set up a qualification meeting for an invitation to the their Design Services Network (DSN). The purpose of Altera’s DSN is to create a highly visible worldwide network of qualified and motivated design services companies that offer differentiated design services and technology expertise to accelerate customers’ time to market, lower customers’ risk and improve Altera’s customer support. Essentially, Altera wants to make it easier for us to support our new customers with FPGA design.
After touring our office and with the application completed, we were quickly approved. Prior to becoming an Altera FPGA Design Services Network member, Sparx was already working extensively with a wide range of Altera tools. You can view our profile on Altera’s website here.
As one of only six Altera Design Service Partners in Texas, Sparx is uniquely positioned to continue advancing the technology capabilities of our clients. If you’ve read this far wondering what it is we’re talking about, here’s a quick explanation of FPGAs from Altera’s website:
The field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is a semiconductor device that can be programmed after manufacturing. Instead of being restricted to any predetermined hardware function, an FPGA allows you to program product features and functions, adapt to new standards, and reconfigure hardware for specific applications even after the product has been installed in the field—hence the name “field-programmable”. You can use an FPGA to implement any logical function that an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) could perform, but the ability to update the functionality after shipping offers advantages for many applications.
As FPGAs continue to evolve, the devices have become more integrated. Hard intellectual property (IP) blocks built into the FPGA fabric provide rich functions while lowering power and cost and freeing up logic resources for product differentiation. Newer FPGA families are being developed with hard embedded processors, transforming the devices into systems on a chip (SoC).
- Compared to ASICs or ASSPs, FPGAs offer many design advantages, including:
- Rapid prototyping
- Shorter time to market
- The ability to re-program in the field for debugging
- Lower NRE costs
- Long product life cycle to mitigate obsolescence risk
If you’re currently working on an FPGA-based design and need some assistance, our engineers are here to help. Sparx is able to take on any portion of your project to rapidly get your product to market.
Contact us to discuss your project needs in detail.