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Raptor FPGAs keep start-up afloat

Posted: 16 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA  programmable logic  FPGA market  software 

FPGA vendor Abound Logic Inc. refuse to be called a start-up. The firm is privately held, small in comparison with competitors like Xilinx Inc. and Altera Corp., and did not exist in its present form a year ago. Still, executives insist that the term start-up is misleading, saying the product Abound Logic offers today is based on technology that has been around since 1993.

Abound Logic's founding team has been developing FPGAs for 22 years and the company's 65-nm Raptor FPGAs represent the tenth generation of hardware based on the team's technology, according to Frederic Reblewski, Abound Logic co-founder and CEO.

Not only that, executives say, but Abound Logic's technology has been used by thousands of engineers, though many of them are probably unaware of it. The company's programmable logic technology is used in Mentor Graphics Corp.'s Veloce emulation product family, which is capable of emulating up to 512 million ASIC gates using the technology, according to Francisco Moreno, Abound's director of strategic marketing.

Previous generations of Mentor's emulation tools were also based on the same technology that forms the basis for Abound Logic's product, developed by Abound Logic's founders while at Meta Systems, according to the company. Meta Systems was acquired by Mentor in May 1996. (Mentor is also listed as an investor in Abound Logic).

Semantics aside, Abound Logic (formerly M2000) is one of several promising FPGA companies to appear in recent years. But history is littered with failed programmable logic ventures, and speculation has been that these companies could have a particularly rough go as potential customers tighten their belts and shy away from doing business with company's whose financial viability may not be adequately proven.

At least two companies, Ambric Inc. and MathStar Inc., ceased operations last year as financial resources ran dry.

Reblewski and Moreno say Abound Logic is above the fray. The company's SRAM-based Raptor FPGAs claim to offer the industry's highest density, with 750,000 look-up tables (LUTs).

"Today, for somebody who needs something that is bigger than 500K LUTs, we are the only game in town," Reblewski said.

The 65-nm Raptor offers 38-Mbits of memory, 448 DSP ALUs capable of 24 x 24 bit multiplication, up to 1,200 I/Os and up to 32 SerDes lanes, according to Abound Logic. The silicon consumes half the power of other 65-nm large FPGAs with no trade-offs in performance, according to the company.

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