The Intellitech Fast Access Controller - FAC - (TM) is
the Industry's First IP Solution for In-System FLASH Programming
Patent-Pending Technology Sets the Standard in Performance, Flexibility, Reuse and Cost for in-System FLASH Programming
Durham, NH -- (BUSINESS WIRE) - April 1, 2003. -- Intellitech Corp. the technology leader in scan-based configuration, debug and test solutions today announced the availability of the Fast Access Controller (FAC) for fast FLASH memory programming. The FAC is the newest member of the Intellitech TEST-IP(TM) family of pre-designed infrastructure intellectual property modules for high-speed, high-throughput, in-system configuration and test. The FAC leverages the 1149.1 test infrastructure to enable in-system programming of FLASH memory devices as fast as off-board or direct access programming techniques. The patent-pending FAC FLASH programming method is scalable, it can still achieve this optimal FLASH programming throughput with low test clock rates (<3Mhz) and is unaffected by the size or number of 1149.1 devices in the boundary-scan chain design of the PCB.
The FAC is an ideal plug-and-play IP solution for SoC designers with embedded processors (Micro-controller, DSP or CPU) who need to respond to customer demands for better Design-for-Test and better support for programming external FLASH in a production environment. ASIC/SOC designers using embedded CPU cores from ARM, MIPS, IBM and Motorola can also lower overall product costs by using the Fast Access Controller to lower downstream PCB manufacturing costs. ICs within high volume, low cost consumer products that leverage large quantities of non-volatile memory such as cell phones, PDAs, and cable set top boxes can particularly benefit from the FAC. The FAC IP can also be embedded into an FPGA so it is an attractive alternative for PCB designers who are under pressure from their test engineering groups to provide direct physical access points for FLASH memory devices so manufacturing can realize shorter programming times. It is also particularly useful for FPGA based PCBs that use on-board FLASH as a method of storing FPGA configuration data.
The FAC enables the IEEE 1149.1 bus to be used as a central high-speed serial bus for in-system configuration of all on-board FLASH devices. The FAC IP achieves its fast on-board programming times by using advanced data de-serialization and protocol optimization algorithms to minimize the number of scan operations and data required during FLASH programming. This enables the FAC to program FLASH devices in-system over the standard 1149.1 bus at speeds equivalent to off-board programming. The FLASH memory protocols of the FAC are fully configurable in-system, using Intellitech's Eclipse(TM) family of 1149.1 based tools allowing it to support a wide variety of FLASH memory devices and protocols from vendors such as Intel and AMD. While there are many ways to program FLASH memory (stand-alone programmers, in-line programmers, in-circuit emulation ICE/BDM equipment, In-circuit "pogo-pin" testers, and boundary-scan testers), each method has certain drawbacks such as cost and slow FLASH programming times. Each method is also just a point solution targeted for only one phase of the product's life, for instance in-line programmers cannot easily be used during engineering prototyping, ICE/BDM equipment can't easily be used in production test. If a system is being designed to enable remote software and FPGA logic updates, yet, another solution must be devised to allow each individual FLASH to be updated when the product is in the field. In some cases, 3 or 4 of these programming methods are used, each one costing more in equipment and engineering resources to support over each phase of the product's life.
The FAC development project started at Intellitech in 1997 in order to create a single FLASH programming method that could be used on systems in the field, during prototyping bring-up or manufacturing test. The result culminated in several foreign and US patent filings. Today PCBs with mezzanine cards and complex multi-board systems have multiple dedicated communication processors and digital signal processors each with their own local FLASH memory for storing program code. FPGA logic may also be loaded from a dedicated FLASH device, so a complex multi-PCB system may have 3-4 different FLASH devices, more for larger systems. A central access method for all system FLASH devices is critical to creating field-upgradeable systems. Using the FAC with other members of the Intellitech TEST-IP family provides system architects with a pre-designed low resource infrastructure for programming FLASH during production test and in-the-field.
"Product development teams cannot fully leverage the benefits of using large amounts of FLASH memory in their systems without significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to program FLASH memories during manufacturing or in the field" said CJ Clark president and CEO of Intellitech. "The FAC is breakthrough technology that significantly reduces in-system programming times compared to other methods without adding dedicated FLASH programming equipment or impacting design schedules. The patent-pending FAC architecture is part of our family of TEST-IP products that are targeting lower overall product cost through Intellitech's implement once, configure and test anywhere infrastructure IP", Clark added.
· Cost Savings - The FAC is the lowest cost, fastest performance method for in-system FLASH programming in the industry. The FAC is licensed on a per use basis using the Intellitech patent-pending licensing mechanism. The FAC enables on-PCB programming as fast as off-PCB programming techniques. This enables simpler production 'beat rate' matching without resorting to pre-programming an inventory of FLASH parts or adding expensive in-line FLASH programming equipment to the production line.
· Flexibility - The FAC IP can be embedded in to a processor, a SOC, implemented into an FPGA or CPLD or can temporarily reside in the design on an as needed basis
· Reuse from design to design - No engineering or software development is required to use the FAC and it can be used on any 1149.1 compliant design. · Reuse in all phases - The FAC is the only fast FLASH programming technique that can also be used in prototyping, manufacturing and in-the-field for in-system FLASH updates
FAC Pricing and Availability The FAC is available immediately. FAC can be delivered as a synthesizable VHDL or Verilog module to enable its integration into a processor or SoC device. The FAC is also available in a FPGA/CPLD or can be temporarily loaded into a device by Intellitech's Eclipse family of scan-based configuration and test tools. Call Intellitech for pricing on specific applications and volumes. SystemBIST users have unlimited free access to the FAC IP for programming its associated FLASH memory.