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Efinix Samples Its First FPGAs

April 24, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

The first FPGAs from Efinix appear to deliver on the startup’s promises of greater gate density and lower power consumption than competing devices. Although only the smallest members of the new Trion family are sampling now, they target a high-volume market segment. Larger chips based on the same novel technology are scheduled to sample later this year.

Efinix has designed and patented new cells that combine programmable logic with routing channels and hubs. Conventional FPGAs have programmable logic blocks connected to a switched routing fabric. Efinix’s Exchangeable Logic and Routing (XLR) cell can either perform the usual logic operations or work as a switch for the underlying fabric. The company claims that combining both functions in one cell reduces the fabric’s physical area by 2–4x and cuts power in half. Also, the improved routing requires fewer metal layers, which reduces manufacturing costs.

The first Trion FPGAs are the T4 and T8, based on the same die. The T4 has about 3,900 logic elements (LEs), and the T8 has about 7,300. (XLR cells are components of the LEs, which are comparable to those in other FPGAs.) According to Efinix, the first chips offer about twice the physical gate density and about the same standby power as similar FPGAs. Thus, they should undercut the cost of competing devices. The company says the Trion T4 and T8 will be ready for high-volume production as early as July if a customer places a large order.

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