ARM Architecture

eFPGA LUTs Will Outship FPGA LUTs Later This Decade

By Geoff Tate, CEO of Flex Logix
EETimes (February 28, 2022)

FPGAs have turn out to be a strategic expertise. It was a “poor man’s ASIC” and supplied a custom-made IC for lower-volume functions. Whereas it’s nonetheless used this manner in lots of methods, it has additionally turn out to be strategically necessary to 2 very large, high-growth functions:

  • Cloud knowledge facilities: networking, storage and safety
  • Communications methods: base stations and 5G, and so on.

The truth is, FPGAs are so strategic for the information heart that it triggered Intel to purchase Altera and extra just lately AMD to purchase Xilinx. It is because processor workloads in lots of circumstances are shifting to FPGAs.

Knowledge facilities use FPGAs in quantity to supply the parallel programmability a processor can not obtain (one buyer calls it “programmability on the pace of {hardware}”). These FPGAs are paired with devoted operate ICs equivalent to NICs (community interface chips) and community change chips. Every knowledge heart has completely different workloads and wishes so a typical product for all doesn’t work, and every knowledge heart has the volumes and capital to optimize for his or her wants.

Communications methods have lengthy used FPGAs to deal with tons of of nationwide frequency bands and protocols. Now with 5G, FPGAs are used to handle the complexity and evolving requirements equivalent to O-RAN.

Whereas FPGA programmability could be very helpful as described above, the ability and dimension of FPGAs is one other story. In consequence, as we speak knowledge heart and communication firms need to combine their FPGAs into SoCs to scale back dimension and energy.

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