By offering the ability to update application functionality, provide a reconfigurable solution and enable easy design customization, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology has long been known as a cost-effective design resource. Similarly, x86 processor architectures share many of the same extended ecosystem, installed base, and multi-functionality benefits as FPGAs.
The continuing evolution of the x86 processor architectures with their high-performance, extended and enhanced features, and lower power consumption ushers in a new realm of platform flexibility that supports a broader variety of design options. This evolution has been a boon for embedded systems, but is not without its pitfalls. The large number of x86-based developers that have created the huge installed base of applications has led to a very long list of pre-determined instruction sets that now limit many types of embedded applications. For this reason, embedded designers have been looking for a better way to meet the specific I/O requirements or have the ability to customize embedded solutions with proprietary I/O or acceleration.
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