by Anton Shilov
11/01/2010 | 07:49 PM
In a completely surprising move, Intel Corp. on Monday said that it would produce field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to privately owned Achronix Semiconductor Corp. using 22nm process technology. For the first time in history the world's largest maker of microprocessors actually becomes a foundry for a smaller company. Moreover, the giant welcomes other developers to follow.
"With Achronix, we are selectively offering access to our 22nm fabs. For perspective, this deal would only make up a tiny amount of our overall capacity, significantly less than 1%, and is not currently viewed as financially material to Intel’s earnings. But it’s still an important endeavor for us that we are committed to deliver on. I can tell you the folks over at Achronix are very excited about the opportunity and the expected performance boosts they will see in their Intel manufactured products," said Bill Kircos, a director of product and technology media relations at Intel's global communications group.
Intel's motives to manufacture certain third-party chips on its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities are not completely clear. One of the explanations is that the company needs certain products that it cannot make itself to exist in order to sell its microprocessors.
According to the developer, the Achronix Speedster22i FPGA family will shatter 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 that can be manufactured in the United States of America, making it the ideal platform for military and aerospace applications requiring “on shore” silicon.
“Intel has the best process technology in the world and we are privileged to have formed this strategic relationship, which enables simultaneous improvements in speed, power, density and cost. The combination of the advanced 22nm process from Intel and the advanced FPGA technology from Achronix enables Speedster22i to eclipse other FPGA solutions expected to hit the market in the next few years," said John Lofton Holt chief executive officer of Achronix.