Fulcrum Microsystems announced general availability of the PivotPoint FM1010, the industry's first SPI-4.2 switch chip. The six-port System Packet Interface 4 Phase 2 (SPI-4.2) switch chip seamlessly interconnects devices (such as transceivers, NPUs, traffic managers, co-processors, and custom ASICs and FPGAs) used in high-performance networking and storage applications. PivotPoint replaces discrete daisy-chain designs and inflexible system buses, converting a fixed hardware configuration into a soft-assignable array of computing and packet processing resources. A hardware development kit is also available that features the FM1010 on a modular reference board simplifying the evaluation of the chip alongside other SPI-4.2 devices. The kit includes reference software, a design guide, and all of the electronic files necessary for easy integration of the FM1010 into a board design. The core of the FM1010 is a non-blocking Terabit crossbar circuit called Nexus that was developed using Fulcrum's patented circuit technology. Leveraging Nexus, the FM1010 offers data rates up to 14.4Gbps per SPI-4.2 interface, with ball-to-ball latency under 250ns, and power consumption that scales linearly based on activity. The FM1010 is available in a 1036-ball BGA package, and is priced at $225 per chip in 1,000-piece quantities. Fulcrum Microsystems Inc, Calabasas Hills, CA 91301, USA.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.