The debate over which high-performance 90 nm FPGA has the lowest power is heating up. The industry has crossed a critical inflection point at the 90 nm process, where performance competes with power and thermal budgets. Customers want as much performance as possible, but increasingly the decision about which FPGA to use is based on which device consumes the least amount of power.

Excessive power is expensive in many ways. It creates the need for special design and operational considerations—everything from heat sinks to fans to sophisticated heat exchangers. Even the cost of larger power supplies must be considered.

Perhaps the most critical issue is the effect excessive power can have on reliability. As junction temperatures rise, transistors consume more power, further increasing the device temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Xcell Journal / Third Quarter 2005. Article © Xcell Journal.