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FPGA manufacturer claims to beat Moore's Law

Heaps of success
Wed Oct 27 2010, 15:14

CHIP DESIGNER Xilinx has announced that it can beat Moore's Law by introducing stacked silicon interconnects.

The announcement debuts devices that allow for higher bandwidth, capacity and reduction in power by having multiple field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in a single package. The firm is saying that by using 3D packaging and through-silicon vias on its 28nm 7 series FPGAs, it can "overcome the boundaries of Moore's Law and offer electronics manufacturers unparalleled power, bandwidth and density optimization".

Vincent Tong, SVP of Xilinx said that the firm's 7 Series FPGAs "extend the range of applications programmable logic can address is by offering industry-leading capacity of up to [two] million logic cells." He goes on to say that the capacity was only achievable through the use of stacked interconnect packaging.

FPGAs are regularly used in scientific and military applications and form the basis of chips designed by firms like ARM. Development in these products can seem somewhat sedate compared to x86 processors, however Xilinx and its primary competitor, Altera, engage in a fierce rivalry to supply FPGAs to the research and defence industries.

The FPGAs should help ARM introduce newer cores within its system on chip designs, which could end up finding their way into smartphones, set-top boxes and many other applications.

As Xilinx announced its designs for the 28nm process, Intel announced that it has opened a chip fabrication plant in China. The fab was announced over three years ago and after suffering various delays and red tape, it finally has been completed and Intel CEO Paul Otellini proudly announced its opening. Otellini told Reuters, "This manufacturing facility helps deliver on our vision to contribute to sustainable growth in China while giving us better proximity to serve our customers in Asia."

The chipmaker has invested heavily in China, though this is the first time it has opened a fab plant in the country. Intel is in the midst of building or expanding other manufacturing plants including those in its historic manufacturing complex in Oregon.

Although Intel's chips power the majority of desktops, laptops and servers, Xilinx's latest breakthrough could end up in even more devices, thanks to its partners who include ARM and TSMC. Xilinx says that its latest line of FPGA chips will be shipping from the second half of 2011. µ



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