BRATISLAVA, Slovakia--Fabless FPGA vendor Achronix Semiconductor Corp. has jumped into the SoC market by offering to license its FPGA technology to chip companies.
Achronix (Santa Clara, Calif.) will continue to market high-performance 22-nm FPGAs built by Intel Corp. on a foundry basis. But, in an effort to get into higher volume markets like mobile and consumer applications, Achronix will also license its FPGA fabric to serve as an insurance policy for SoC chip makers against a change in a standard or the need for a respin of the silicon, said John Lofton Holt, Achronix founder and chairman.
Holt announced the addition of licensing to Achronix' business model to industry executives gathered here Thursday (Oct. 4) at the International Electronics Forum organized by Future Horizons.
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To date, Achronix has presented itself as a high-performance FPGA provider seeking to eclipse FPGA market leaders Altera Corp. and Xilinx Inc. Achronix drew attention when it switched foundries to go with Intel in an effort to claim the higher ground.
Achronix' 22i Speedster FPGAs are manufactured using Intel's 22-nm FinFET manufacturing process and come with a variety of high-speed data communications interfaces hardwired. These include 10/40/100G Ethernet MACs, 100Gbit Interlaken channels, PCI Express and DDR3 memory channels.
The HD1000 is a 6 billion transistor FPGA that will become available this quarter. Holt said Achronix would tape-out a 9 billion transistor FPGA in 2013 aimed at the same 22-nm FinFET manufacturing process.
But while high-capacity FPGAs have their place, the space is reserved for relatively low-volume, high-end applications such as communications infrastructure, Holt said. As increasing numbers of SoC projects are delivered behind schedule and need multiple spins, Holt said. Silicon programmability is becoming a necessity for next-generation SoCs, Holt argued.