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Lattice First With FPGA in FD-SOI

February 4, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Aiming for markets underserved by Intel and Xilinx, Lattice is first to bring the advantages of fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) technology to FPGAs. Designed for embedded-vision systems, CrossLink-NX is the debut product in the new Nexus platform, which Samsung manufactures in its 28nm FD-SOI process. Unlike shipping 40nm CrossLink chips, the NX generation includes DSP blocks to accelerate AI inferencing, as well as a PCI Express interface. Both generations have MIPI interfaces for connecting image sensors and SoCs. The expanded capabilities of CrossLink-NX, however, take it from a simple bridge to a video coprocessor.

Compared with prior Lattice FPGAs, Nexus reduces both dynamic and static power thanks to its use of FD-SOI. Another FD-SOI benefit is a large reduction in soft errors caused by radiation, as the channel area is a smaller target for neutrons and alpha particles. Lattice announced two CrossLink-NX devices: the NX-40 has 39,000 logic cells and is sampling now, whereas the NX-17 has 17,000 logic cells and is due in 4Q20. Customers can start CrossLink-NX designs now using its Radiant 2.0 software tools.

As the first Nexus product, CrossLink-NX offers a desirable combination of high performance, low power, and small footprint. It’s best suited to industrial and IoT video applications that require bridging combined with object detection or counting. There’s nothing revolutionary about the first Nexus products—they largely move existing intellectual property to 28nm FD-SOI, reducing power and increasing logic density. We see opportunity, however, for Lattice to expand Nexus in both high-performance and low-power directions.

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