PARIS – Achronix’s new 6 billion-transistor device, the first FPGA to be built on a 22-nm manufacturing process at Intel Corp. and promised to start sampling this quarter, won’t arrive in the market until the first quarter of 2013.
The HD 1000, the first in the Achronix family of FPGAs designated Speedster 22i HD, was supposed to reach the market before the end of this year.
Achronix Chairman John Lofton Holt (left) said the delay stemmed from “our design issues." He called the delay “disappointing.”
The Speedster22i HD family are SRAM-based, fully-reconfigurable FPGAs offering a familiar fabric architecture consisting of synchronous look-up tables, flops, muxes, carry chains, memories and multipliers, according to Achronix. Integrated with a variety of high-speed data communications interfaces, the Speedster22i FPGAs are designed to work in networking and telecommunications equipment.
Despite the delay, Holt said he remains confident about the HD 1000’s rollout early next year, insisting that the flagship FPGAs remain the company’s core business.
The delay, coming as Achronix is rolling out its strategy to enter the embedded FPGA IP business (disclosed several weeks prior to the product delay disclosure), could raise questions about where the eight-year-old FPGA company is headed. A fabless chip company entering the IP business is generally a long shot since the strategy requires an entirely new business model for a much tougher market.
IP licensing is an inherently long-term business. Before IP licensors can even think about royalties, licensees must first successfully design SoCs by using the licensed IP, then their chips must take off quickly when they hit the market.
Asked about it, the Achronix chairman laughed. “Yes, I know. The IP business tends to get people worried.”
Holt added that Achronix is not altering its business model. “Our core business still remains in high-performance, high-density FPGAs."