In choosing which programmable logic device to use, an engineer (or purchasing director, or just anyone) might judge the capabilities and merits of a device based simply on the number of logic cells it contains. This judgment would be true, however, if all logic cells are designed the same. The fact is that they aren’t – while most programmable logic devices use the same old architecture, we do ours a bit different. QuickLogic’s unique flexible logic cell design, found in our PolarPro 3 platform, proves that not all logic cells can be looked at as the same.
The PolarPro 3 family features the unique ability to implement two independent 3-input look-up tables (LUT) or a single 4-input LUT from a single logic cell. Typical programmable fabric logic cells only contain a single 4-input LUT (which is why many people simply use logic cell count as a metric for capabilities). But why should you, or anyone else, care about this?
The simple fact is that because we have a flexible logic cell design, QuickLogic enables designers to more aggressively implement designs into our devices. Basically, you can implement more functions in the same number of logic cells, or implement the same functions in a lot less logic cells. In fact, in typical implementations, the PolarPro 3 family has been benchmarked to use available resources twice as efficiently as competing logic cell architectures, and in some cases as much as three and a half times more efficiently. This saves our customers PCB space and cost, as well as provides QuickLogic a unique competitive advantage.
And, for those engineers in the group, here’s a block diagram. As seen below, a single logic cell in the PolarPro 3 device can actually perform multiple functions and in multiple configurations, whereas a standard logic cell from other vendors perform a single function.
PolarPro 3 also adds the flexibility for the flip-flop input signal to be routed from the logic cell or general routing, and also allows both the combinatorial and the registered logic outputs to be used separately. Conversely, competitor logic cell flip-flops can only receive input from the 4-input LUT block and must only output the registered or non-registered LUT output, since both are not available at the same time.