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Microsemi Corporation (MSCC - Analyst Report), an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of a broad range of high-reliability and analog/mixed signal integrated circuits, has introduced a new design tool, System Builder, in support of the SmartFusion2 SoC field programmable gate array (FPGA) device family.

System Builder is a powerful new design tool within the Libero System-on-Chip (SoC) Design Environment version 11.0, which helps design engineers to configure and interconnect the ARM processor and its related peripherals implemented in the FPGA devices. The tool has been created to simplify the design process for Microsemi's SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs in embedded system applications.

FPGAs are semiconductor devices that allow programming/reprogramming even after the device has been installed. This flexibility makes the devices more expensive compared to regular programmable logic devices (PLDs), so their use is relatively restricted.

System on Chips or SOCs are integrated circuits that incorporate programmable logic, temperature or power sensing and management plus communication functions into a single, low-power device.

The new tool has few IP functions available within its System Builder, which can easily be used to create specific SoCsto be used in a wide range of applications such as flight data recorders, weapons systems, defibrillators, handheld radios, communications management systems and industrial motor control. Additionally, the tool can configure a growing set of IP blocks for high-performance interfaces and serial interfaces using 5Gbps SERDES for PCIe, XAUI (10 GbE) and SGMII.

Since the introduction of SmartFusion2 in October last year, the device has been widely accepted by customers in the communications, industrial and defense markets where accurate, reliable and flawless results are vital. Therefore, the System Builder enhancement tool will shorten the time to design complex SoC FPGAs, which should increase adoption.

Demand for FPGAs are increasing since they allow increased flexibility when creating designs and enable electronic device manufacturing companies to minimize their research and development (R&D) costs. This can prove to be a long-term growth driver for Microsemi.

Microsemi’s revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 were $235.3 million, down 5.0% sequentially and 5.6% year over year. However, adjusted earnings per share came in at 32 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents or 6.7%.

Microsemi has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks that have been performing well and are worth a look include Magnachip Semiconductor (MX - Snapshot Report), Microchip Technology (MCHP - Analyst Report) and Maxlinear Inc. (MXL - Snapshot Report), all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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