The Linley Group recognizes 2016’s top products in the categories of embedded, mobile, networking, server, processor IP, and related technology. And the winners are…
Ethernet silicon saw lots of 2016 activity centered on 25GbE and 100GbE. Wireless development shifted to IoT-optimized LTE chips while 5G noise increased around early designs.
A year after launching its 14nm FX-14 FinFET process for ASICs, GlobalFoundries is offering serdes intellectual-property cores that support both 56Gbps PAM4 and 28Gbps NRZ coding.
Samsung is the first company to reach 10nm production, offering the densest FinFET process to date. The 10nm LPE process will power smartphone and server processors in 2017.
Qualcomm is the first vendor to offer a 10nm smartphone processor, extending battery life. Unlike its predecessor, the 835 uses fairly standard Cortex CPUs and integrates a Wi-Fi baseband.
Although 2016 was a quiet year for server processors, vendor activity sowed the seeds of change. ARM processors began generating revenue and customers increasingly employed designs that use accelerators.
Broadcom is shipping the industry’s first search coprocessor built in FinFET technology. The KBP (knowledge-based processor) search engines appear in service-provider routers and switches as an adjunct to OEMs’ own ASICs.
The X23 and X27 add new deca-core models to the Helio smartphone-processor lineup. The X27 boosts the Cortex-A72 CPUs to 2.6GHz, while the X23 provides a lower-price option.
As sales of mobile devices decelerated in 2016, processor-IP vendors shifted their focus to emerging higher-growth opportunities in automotive applications and IoT.
The IEEE’s 802.11 group has published draft 1.0 of 802.11ax, a new 2.4/5GHz standard that increases Wi-Fi speeds while also improving spectral efficiency.
Centriq is the first server processor to be developed in 10nm technology, putting the 48-core design ahead of other ARM-based competitors as well as Intel on this metric.
Acquisitions further consolidated the embedded-processor market in 2016 while Intel moved to 14nm FinFETs, ARMv8 saw wider adoption, and new product lines emerged.
Cortus has delivered its APS29 intellectual-property (IP) core, which supports dual instruction issue and provides greater single-core performance than the older APS25.
High-speed-analog specialist Macom has offered $776 million for AppliedMicro, a developer of communications and processor products. The company will immediately divest AppliedMicro’s X-Gene server processors.
MediaTek is pressuring Qualcomm for the shipment lead, but Qualcomm is ahead in performance. Also, in-house processors are playing a bigger role at Huawei and Samsung.