The value of semiconductor intellectual property（IP）in saving time and cost while developing complex new Systems-on-Chip（SoC）designs is well understood. But IP also has a valuable role when old systems need updating.
Many processor or controller-based systems produced 10 or 20 years ago are still going strong. But several of the popular processor chips from that era have become impossible to purchase—they have reached “End of Life”—so replacing worn out system boards or manufacturing new copies becomes difficult.
Designers tasked with extending the life cycle of such systems have two choices：
‧ Replace the obsolete processor chip with a currently-available processor chip, writing new code that
retains compatibility with the rest of the system, or
‧ Develop your own plug-in, instruction set compatible chip replacement for the existing processor,
using an IP core implemented in an FPGA.
Using a new processor chip is a good approach in some situations. But we have found that exact replacement using IP in an FPGA is the best approach for many customer projects.