PARIS Claiming to be already delivering the densest embedded FPGA (eFPGA) at the 90-nanometer manufacturing node, M2000 SA is in the process of preparing FPGA intellectual property targeting 65-nanometer designs. The first 65-nm tapeout is expected during the first half of 2007, the company said.
"What we are doing here is much more than a mere porting [the 90-nm design] as we are enhancing our cell structure, by adding hardwired operators," said Frederic Reblewski, chief executive officer of M2000 (Paris, France). This addition eliminates the need to program basic operators, such as adders, in the lookup tables and as a result, embedded functions execute much faster while using the same amount of silicon, he explained.
Embedded FPGA block cover a large range of applications, from pin-swapping at one end of the spectrum to ASIC function prototyping at the other end, and including all possible forms of co-processing. With pin-swapping applications, reprogrammable macros are embedded into low-end ASICs using a few I/O pins. The reprogrammable logic area is small as it is only needed for pin multiplexing or for creating temporary test I/Os. However, for ASIC "platform silicon" large FPGA blocks are needed to sit next to standard processor and peripheral cores, and are used for application prototyping, to save simulation and first silicon costs.
First used in high-end applications such as networking SOCs, eFPGAs are moving to finer geometries and denser architectures in order to reach new markets. At 65-nm M2000’s new cell architecture will offer about 4000 look-up tables (LUTs) per square millimeter compared with 1350 LUTs per square millimeter at 90-nm. However, designers are likely to have to wait for the 45-nm node before it will be practical to embed reprogrammable functions into volume applications, such as mobile phones.
Founded in 1996 as a fabless silicon IP provider, M2000 now has 30 employees. The company was selected as a technology provider by European Union funded project Morpheus, with partners that include STMicroelectronics, Lucent and Thomson SA.