21 February 2012
Intel grants Tabula access to its fabs
Tabula has announced that it is implementing a family of 3d programmable logic devices (3pld) manufactured by Intel using its 22nm manufacturing process, featuring 3d Tri-Gate transistors and co-optimised packaging technology.
The development has been made possible by a manufacturing access agreement between Tabula and Intel Custom Foundry, a division of the Technology and Manufacturing Group of Intel. Tabula, a privately held, fabless semiconductor firm, is one of the few companies that Intel has ever granted access to its fabs.
The 3pld family will be based on Tabula's 3d Spacetime architecture and is designed to deliver high performance, cost effective solutions for network infrastructure systems requiring high bandwidth data flows. Potential applications include switches, routers, packet inspection appliances and other high performance systems. According to Tabula, the combination of process and architecture will enable the company to produce high performance programmable circuits that consume significantly less chip area than circuits implemented with traditional fpga fabrics.
"Intel's revolutionary manufacturing technology breakthrough employing 3d Tri-Gate transistors at the 22nm process node will provide our company with a head start of several years, much as Intel achieved in 2007 by introducing high-k metal-gate transistors at the 45nm node," said Daniel Gitlin, vice president, manufacturing technology, Tabula. "We believe this breakthrough will extend Tabula's Spacetime technology lead further beyond the rest of the programmable logic industry."
Tabula's Spacetime programmable fabric is designed to address the challenges of interconnect in traditional fpga fabrics. The complex circuits designers need to implement demand minimal internal delays and higher and higher operating frequencies. As fpgas have become larger, traditional fpgas are reaching performance limits and bottle necks are appearing when data moves between memory and I/O ports – and in dsp and logic functions. According to Tabula, Spacetime eliminates these limitations, delivering a balanced architecture with 'dramatically' shorter interconnects than traditional fpgas and the ability to clock the entire fabric- - logic, dsp, memory and interconnect – at the same frequency. This is achieved by using time as a third dimension to reduce the number of components needed to implement a function. This, says Tabula, enables smaller, higher performance, more cost effective chips, suitable for telecommunications, enterprise networking and wireless infrastructure markets.
Sunit Rikhi, vice president, Technology and Manufacturing Group, Intel, said: "Intel's 3d TriGate transistors are a revolutionary breakthrough and provide an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency, which Intel and our manufacturing customers like Tabula can use to bring superior computing capabilities to market. Intel has worked closely with Tabula throughout the product design cycle to co-optimise Tabula's 3pld family with Intel's 22nm manufacturing process and design kits."
By leveraging Intel's 22nm process and functional enhancements to the Spacetime architecture introduced in its ABAX family, Tabula believes its 22nm products will be able to meet the needs of even more complex and higher performance systems. "Tabula's mission is to deliver the benefits of programmable logic beyond the limits of fpgas and into the much larger $110billion custom logic market," said Dennis Segers, Tabula's chief executive officer. "This manufacturing agreement lets Tabula deliver to our customers world class process technology, coupled with large scale manufacturing, and an advanced programmable logic fabric – all critical in our quest to grow as an independent programmable logic leader."