SAN JOSE, Calif. Xilinx Inc. claims to have reached GHz speeds with a prototype FPGA, attributing the feat to the power of pure-play foundries.
The parts were created in a dry run of the 0.18-micron process being codeveloped by Xilinx and foundry United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC). The process will be used by Xilinx for its upcoming Virtex FPGA family; the prototypes were from the Xilinx XC4000 family and will not be run in production volumes at 0.18 micron.
Historically, a foundry would develop its manufacturing process first, then shop it around to fabless chip companies. The lengthy process contributed to the technology gap between foundries and such fab-owning chip companies as Intel Corp. The increased clout of the pure-play foundries has led to a shift toward developing products and manufacturing processes at the same time, taking a cue from Intel's methods.
"We'll have 0.18-micron products on the market pretty much together with some of the lead suppliers," Xilinx chief executive Wim Roelandts said.