AUSTIN, Texas Intrinsity, Inc. and ATI Technologies, Inc. (Ontario, Canada) announced a licensing deal Thursday (Feb. 5)which could give ATI a performance edge in the competitive graphics IC market.
Intrinsity, based here, has developed a form of dynamic logic, called Fast14, that it is licensing to ATI "for use in future consumer products."
Bob Feldstein, vice president of engineering at ATI, said ATI believes that Fast14 technology "can deliver up to four times the performance per silicon dollar when compared with standard design approaches."
Paul Nixon, president of Intrinsity, said he could not detail which markets would be targeted with the Fast14 logic. Last November, Microsoft Corp. said it would work with ATI on graphics technology for the next XBox video game machine.
The licensing deal includes design services, EDA tools, and other intellectual property needed to implement dynamic logic. Historically, small portions of microprocessors have been hand-crafted with dynamic logic, which if properly implemented can run faster than static logic, although at somewhat higher power consumption.
Intrinsity, founded in 1997, spent its first three and one-half years developing the EDA tools and Boolean logic family needed to automate the design of chips based partially on dynamic logic. The last few years have been spent developing chip-level products based on Fast14 logic, and the supporting software.
Earlier this year, Intrinsity began sampling a DSP-centric processor, called FastMath, that runs at 2 GHz at 1 V operation, fabricated in a 0.13-micron process at foundry TSMC (Hsinchu, Taiwan).
Rather than take FastMath into full production now, Nixon said FastMath will move to full production at foundry TSMC when Intrinsity's tier-one customers in the wireless basestation market need the commercial parts. Originally, Intrinsity had planned to ship FastMath this year.
To cut its cash burn rate, Intrinsity recently laid off about 20 people, and narrowed its focus for FastMath to the wireless infrastructure market. The startup now employs about 60 people. Nixon said the company decided it could not support the software development demands from the smaller markets it originally had targeted, including medical imaging, machine vision, military electronics, and printers.
"This deal with ATI gives us instant financial stability," Nixon said, that will support its continued thrust with FastMath products.