Intel will make FPGAs on contract

Intel has announced that it will make chips for another developer of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) using its 22nm fabrication process.


Tabula designs programmable logic chips for network infrastructure and has apparently signed up with the Intel Custom Foundry, a division of Intel’s technology and manufacturing group.


Intel said that it will make Tabula’s ABAX family of 3D programmable logic devices (3PLD) which will set new marks in density and performance for logic, memory, and signal processing.


ABAX devices have a mix of configurable I/Os, including 920 general-purpose I/Os and 48 6.5Gb/s SerDes.


In a statement, Tabula said that as FPGAs have become larger, and with the advent of 100Gb Ethernet requirements, the traditional FPGAs are reaching their performance limits.


Its Spacetime programmable fabric is more balanced and have shorter interconnects than traditional FPGAs. It means that it is possible to clock the entire fabric at the same frequency.


However, to do all that, it needed Intel’s 22nm process technology which uses tri-gate transistors.


It thinks that the combination of process and architecture will mean Tabula to produce high-performance programmable circuits that consume significantly less chip area than circuits implemented with traditional FPGA fabrics.


Sunit Rikhi, vice president of technology and manufacturing group at Intel, said he expects the tri-gate transistors will attract other customers.


Intel has worked closely with Tabula throughout the product design cycle to optimise Tabula’s 3PLD family with Intel’s 22nm manufacturing process and design kits, he said.