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Modern chipsets move more and more functionality from fixed-function implementations in silicon to firmware or software.

The chip becomes a more generic microcontroller or DSP that executes the Firmware and does the same jobs.

Drawbacks are that this solution may consume more power than an optimized fixed-function design and that different firmware revisions can cause completely different behaviour of the chips.

The fact that the firmware can 'fix' bugs later has at some vendors the effect that early firmware revisions are rarely useable -- fixed-function designs are usually more carefully designed.