FPGA is called “universal chip” and is the “red man” in the era of artificial intelligence. After more than ten years of market changes, many people now pay more attention to the two leading manufacturers of FPGA – Intel and Xilinx. The industry’s definition of the third-ranked Lattice semiconductor is a manufacturer that focuses on differentiation. In fact, Lattice Semiconductor has done so for so many years, either to avoid direct competition with the head giants, or to reflect The unique innovation value of the enterprise.
Adhering to the road of differentiation, Lattice Semiconductor has been focusing on the consumer market in the past few years, serving major customers with customized products. Now, we see changes in Lattice Semiconductor, a new architecture, a new process, and a new development model.
On December 11, Lattice Semiconductor officially launched the industry’s first 28 nm FD-SOI-based FPGA platform, the Lattice Nexus platform, and the first product family using the Lattice Nexus FPGA platform, CrossLink-NX .
Maximize the value of the platform
According to the official website, Lattice Semiconductor’s Nexus platform is an FPGA platform based on Samsung Electronics’ 28 nm FD-SOI process. Chen Yingren, business development director of Lattice Semiconductor Asia Pacific, said: “FPGA can be done in any industry, but in the past Lattice Semiconductor focused more on consumer business and made different products according to different needs. However, due to consumer The update and iteration of the business is very fast, and some innovative technologies are difficult to reuse. Therefore, now we will use the platform method, and then successively launch different types of products under this process.”
Chen Yingren, Director of Business Development, Asia Pacific, Lattice Semiconductor
In summary, the Nexus platform mainly brings four aspects of performance blessings, namely:
Reduce power consumption by 75%;
100 times higher reliability;
High-performance network edge computing capabilities.
One of the technical advantages of FD-SOI is to reduce device power consumption, and Lattice Semiconductor has always focused on the development of low-power FPGAs. The Nexus platform reduces power consumption by 75%, which has many benefits for applications in various fields, such as Battery-powered network edge devices run longer, have lower operating costs, lower product costs, and more.
Chen Yingren said: “Many applications now pay attention to convenience, and even many applications in the factory use robots and batteries for processing, so power consumption is not the only one, low power consumption means cost reduction, including operating costs. reduction, product cost reduction and product stability improvement.”
In addition to low power consumption, Chen Yingren pointed out that another obvious addition brought by the Nexus platform is the improvement of product stability. He said: “Consumer electronics have lower requirements for stability and can perform operations such as restarting the machine, but many applications cannot be restarted. Otherwise, it will affect the system stability and even endanger life safety.”
The 28nm FD-SOI process selected by Lattice Semiconductor has a very thin Buried Oxide, which can reduce the failure rate by 100 times and correspondingly improve the stability by 100 times. are very important.
Chen Yingren pointed out: “Although Lattice Semiconductor has focused on the consumer business for some time, it does not mean that we mainly focus on the consumer business. In fact, in the small-size FPGA market, Lattice Semiconductor has a high market share. The first two companies in the FPGA field are focusing on the data center market and making large FPGAs. In the development of small and medium-sized FPGAs, Lattice Semiconductor will do it.”
At the same time, Chen Yingren emphasized that the embedded vision market has always been the focus of Lattice Semiconductor.
Based on the business focus mentioned by Chen Yingren, based on the advantages and opportunities of Lattice Semiconductor in the development of small and medium-sized FPGAs, and also based on the Nexus platform, Lattice Semiconductor CrossLink-NX came into being.
According to Chen Yingren’s introduction, the advantages of CrossLink-NX are mainly reflected in two aspects, one is the performance advantage derived from the Nexus platform; the other is the performance advantage as an FPGA product.
CrossLink-NX is the first product family to use the Lattice Nexus FPGA platform, enabling:
Reduce power consumption by 75%;
90% reduction in size;
Highest memory/logic ratio;
Fastest MIPI D-PHY (2.5Gbps);
The soft error rate is reduced by a factor of 100 and the reliability is high.
As an FPGA, CrossLink-NX also has good performance in programmable core, fast programmable I/O, hard core interface and fast configuration. Chen Yingren said: “In terms of programmable cores, CrossLink-NX series products integrate DSP modules, with large embedded storage capacity, low power consumption and high-performance modes; in terms of fast programmable I/O, CrossLink-NX series products With up to 192 I/Os, 12 sets of differential I/O @ 1.5 Gbps, and LVDS, subLVDS, SGMII interfaces, and capable of external DDR3 @ 1066 Mbps; in terms of hard core interfaces, CrossLink-NX series products are configured with 8 D – PHY lane @ 2.5 Gbps and 1 lane PCIe @ 5 Gbps; CrossLink-NX family of products
The CrossLink-NX family of products are FPGAs for embedded vision processing. According to Chen Yingren, in the embedded visual vision market, there is no other manufacturer that provides products like CrossLink-NX.
From the current development situation, the embedded vision system is based on a powerful low-energy computing platform and cannot be covered by CPU, GPU and other intelligent computing platforms. It belongs to a new application requirement and application field. The huge potential of the market in the future, the future success is obvious. Obviously, embedded vision applications require low power consumption, small size, high performance, good reliability, and ease of use.
In this regard, Chen Yingren said that the CrossLink-NX series products can conform to the development trend of embedded vision, including:
Support for multiple sensors and displays;
Support higher resolution and faster frame rate;
Can connect MIPI and existing components;
Enables low-power AI processing.
Of course, for FPGAs, in addition to performance advantages, developer friendliness is a very important point. For the CrossLink-NX family of products, Lattice Semiconductor has also prepared corresponding tools and IP to accelerate development. At the tool level, there is the new Lattice Radiant 2.0, which brings developers on-chip debugging, optimized timing analysis, engineering change (ECO) editor and signal integrity analysis. In terms of IP, various IP cores such as MIPI D-PHY, format conversion, PCIe, SGMII and OpenLDI are available. At the same time, Chen Yingren said: “Lattice Semiconductor will continue our strengths, provide more reference designs, and provide more ways for customers to get started and design.”
Author: Wu Zipeng