SAN JOSE -- Altera Corp. here today claimed shipment of the industry's largest programmable logic device--a new 1.5 million-gate PLD aimed at the emerging market for "system-on-a-programmable chip" (SoPC). The APEX EP20K1500E is fabricated with eight-layers of metal and a 0.18-micron process by Altera's silicon foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC).
Altera said the new device has 2.5 million "system gates" and is 35% more density than the nearest competing chip. In another measure of chip density, the EP20K1500 contains 51,840 logic elements, which are basic building blocks of programmable logic, said the San Jose PLD supplier.
"In the past, designers had to sacrifice performance by partitioning designs across multiple PLDs," said Erik Cleage, senior vice president of marketing at Altera. "By supplying the industry's largest devices, customers can develop complete systems by integrating multiple high-speed intellectual property cores all on a single programmable logic device."
The new programmable logic device is aimed at communications applications, such as routers, switches, baseband signal processing, wideband CDMA systems, and stroage network equipment.
Prototypes of the large PLD are available at a cost of $4,995 each. Volume production quantities of mask programmed versions of the device will be sold for about $100 each. The EP20K1500 is being offered in 652-contact ball-grid array (BGA) and 1,020-contact FineLine BGA packages.