CAMPBELL, Calif.--In earlier days, Altera and Xilinx always evoked
an Ali-Frazier weigh-in, or something out of the Cold War. Sure,
there were other vendors in programmable logic, each gnawing on the
next guy's ankle, but Altera and Xilinx made a blood sport out of
Altera would make an announcement, and Xilinx would host a press
conference a day or two later to blast holes in it; Xilinx would
announce something and Altera would lob over mortar rounds. (The CEO of one of them once called
me to question the sanity of covering the other company's
announcement...the CEO!) We in the
middle of it, whether in publishing or market research, loved it
because it made for great copy.
Those were the days... fading fast into the mists.
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Last month, Altera gave a
inside the kimono to its 20-nm node, where the company
will offer 40-Gbps chip-to-chip and 28-Gbps backplane transceivers,
heterogeneous 3-D ICs featuring a high-speed chip-to-chip interface,
and next-generation DSP performance with the highest TFLOPs/watt.
Altera CTO Misha Burich offered the occasional tech comparison to
Xilinx, but tipped his cap in his competitor's direction when he
memory cube technology.
"You'll see both companies doing it and that's good for the whole
industry," Burich said in an interview.
"We want the supply chain to do as much as possible because that
drives costs down."