SiFive, Flex Logix look to boost custom silicon starts

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An agreement between SiFive and Flex Logix will see the latter’s EFLX embedded FPGA technology available for use in the SiFive Freedom Platform as part of the DesignShare programme. According to the partners, this will reduce time to market and remove some of the barriers that have blocked smaller companies from developing custom silicon.

“There is a critical need in the chip industry to provide a faster, cheaper way for innovative companies to rapidly prototype new, advanced chip architectures,” said Geoff Tate, Flex Logix’ CEO. “Through DesignShare, SiFive and Flex Logix can give customers a programmable, flexible chip design for both microcontroller SoCs and multicore process SoCs.”

Unlike traditional ASIC models, SiFive’s Freedom Platform and its DesignShare partners reduce the investment cost associated with custom silicon and streamline the IP acquisition process. In this way, the programme aims to increase the number of new silicon designs starts significantly.

“The addition of Flex Logix’ embedded FPGA platform to the DesignShare ecosystem provides engineers with a new and better way to bring SoCs to market,” said SiFive’s CEO Naveed Sherwani. " DesignShare will make it easier and more flexible for designers to employ RISC-V across a wide range of implementations, from embedded devices to the data centre.”

SiFive will make the EFLX embedded FPGA technology available at the 28nm and 180nm nodes, with several embedded FPGA array size options available for each node. The EFLX embedded FPGA also will be integrated into a future tape-out of the SiFive U500 base platform for customer evaluation using SiFive evaluation boards and software.