This is hot news! The folks at Achronix have just announced that they are to have strategic access to Intel Corporation’s 22 nanometer (nm) process technology and they plan to use this technology to develop the worlds most advanced FPGAs.
Whichever way you look at it, this is something of a historic development for the semiconductor industry. The guys and gals at Achronix currently build 1.5 GHz FPGAs (with an asynchronous internal fabric) at the 40 nm technology node. While the other leading SRAM-based FPGA companies (Altera and Xilinx) have announced that their next-generation offerings will be at the 28 nm node – Achronix plans to “leap-frog” over them directly into the 22 nm node.
This would be considered to be somewhat foolhardy if it weren’t for the fact that Achronix will be using Intel’s 22nm process, which is probably the most highly-tuned process in the world, and which therefore offers significant advantages in terms of yield. Furthermore, the folks at Achronix can leverage Intel’s proven hard IP cores for things like DLLs ,PLLs, and high-performance serial interconnect.
But there’s more, because Achronix can ride on the back of Intel’s proven supply chain – all the way from fabrication to wafer testing and packaging. This offers massive cost reductions (they’re talking about offering 1M LUT devices with all the “bells and whistles” for around $400 in quantities of a few thousand units a year).
The folks at Achronix say that their Speedster22i FPGA family will shatter the existing limitations of FPGAs, allowing cost effective production of high performance devices over 2.5M LUTs in size, equivalent to an ASIC of over 20 million gates.
Taking advantage of the performance and power savings of Intel’s 22nm process technology, Speedster22i will also extend the boundaries of FPGA speed and power efficiency, enabling as much as 300% higher performance, 50% lower power, and 40% lower cost than any other FPGA in any other process technology.
Achronix Speedster22i will be suitable for a wide range of applications in the telecommunication, networking, industrial and consumer markets and will enable emerging applications such as 100G, 400G Ethernet networking and LTE mobile communications.
Additionally, Speedster22i will be the first commercial FPGA family to have an end-to-end supply chain within the United States of America, making it the ideal platform for military and aerospace applications requiring “on shore” silicon where trust and intellectual property protection are vital.
The folks at Achronix say that the combination of the advanced 22nm process from Intel and their advanced FPGA technology will enables Speedster22i to eclipse other FPGA solutions expected to hit the market in the next few years. They tell me that they expect to receive engineering samples toward the end of 2011 and to be shipping production silicon in 2012.