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BittWare Puts Achronix On Board

November 5, 2019

Author: Bob Wheeler

A new partnership with BittWare gives Achronix another route to market for its Speedster7t FPGAs. The companies recently announced the VectorPath PCI Express accelerator card based on Speedster7t; the $7,500 card is due for general availability in 2Q20. Part of Molex, BittWare specializes in FPGA cards as well as servers that integrate them. Unlike a development kit, VectorPath will be production qualified, and BittWare will support enterprise customers for the card. Both companies will sell it, but BittWare has greater market reach thanks to Molex’s worldwide distribution.

The VectorPath S7t-VG6 is built around the Speedster7t 1500 FPGA, which combines programmable logic, specialized machine-learning processors (MLPs), and 190Mb of block RAM. Unlike competing FPGAs that copackage High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), Speedster7t supports external GDDR6 memory as well as DDR4/5 DRAM. The two companies designed the S7t-VG6 with a “kitchen-sink” configuration, including 8GB of GDDR6 and 4GB of DDR4 memory, QSFP56 and QSFP-DD module cages for network connections up to 400Gbps Ethernet, and specialized I/Os for various vertical applications. The card’s primary PCIe interface is a Gen3 x16 edge connector. Like a high-end GPU, the VectorPath card is full height, full length, and double wide, and it includes auxiliary power connectors.

BittWare will provide its BittWorks II software tools for the card, which also incorporates its board-management controller (BMC). Achronix supplies its Ace design tools for FPGA place and route. VectorPath requires the customer to program the FPGA directly, and Achronix expects to announce additional IP partners by the time it reaches general availability. We see the cards appealing to those accustomed to developing custom designs for FPGAs rather than to more-software-centric buyers.

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