Achronix licenses their FPGA fabric as IP

Techcon 2016: IP and a beast of a PCIe card

Achronix logoAchronix was showing off two FPGA goodies, one IP and a PCIe board, during Techcon. SemiAccurate thinks the former is interesting while the latter could change a few games here and there.

You might remember Achronix because of their tie-up with Intel over 22nm foundry deals several years ago. The result of that marriage was the Speedster 22i family of FPGAs which were on display at Techcon. We won’t go down the full spec list but the FPGA was one of the first to have hard IP blocks embedded, specifically 6 DDR3 controllers, 4x 100Gbps Ethernet, 2x PCIe3 8x lanes, and much more. This is an I/O heavy part which allow you to do things like this.

Achronix PICe Accelerator 6D board

PCIe Accelerator 6D board

What you see here is called the PCIe Accelerator 6D platform, basically a Speedster 22i HD1000 on a PCIe 8x card with memory and I/Os. While the board does not pull out all of he FPGAs features, it still has quite the list of ports starting with six 2-slot DDR3/1600 channels for up to 192GB of memory. There are also four QSFP+ cages for 4x 40GbE outs and 700K LUTs available for your code. Lastly it has a USB interface for debugging, if you are thinking keyboard you don’t get what this card is used for.

If that sounds impressive, their other product could have quite a bit more impact. This is what Achronix calls the Speedcore embedded FPGA, basically an IP version of the 22i’s fabric. This eFPGA as it is called is a simple and obvious idea that no one seems to be doing. Flex Logic has something similar on a much smaller scale, but none of the ‘big guys’ are licensing their IP in such a comprehensive way.

Achronix Speedcore IP generator

Achronix Speedcore FPGA IP generator

Achronix had a little spreadsheet up that lets you pick the process you want to build on, the LUTs needed, the speed desired, and a few other parameters. Pick your specs, press a button, and out comes the performance and size of the block requested. It even draws a picture for you but since it is just regular tiles of colored Excel cells, you get the idea. The important part is you can now embed a full strength FPGA in your designs, not an overall game changer but it has a lot of appeal to certain markets.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate