FPGA startup delivers first product

March 02, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Efinix Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.), an FPGA startup founded in 2012, has launched its first product; the Trion programmable platform.

Efinix claims that is 'Quantum' programmable technology gives it a 4x improvement in power-performance-area over traditional programmable architectures and has received significant investment from FPGA pioneer Xilinx Inc. (see FPGA startup wins funds from Xilinx, Samsung ).

The Trion platform comprises logic, routing, embedded memory and DSP blocks and has been implemented 40nm CMOS manufacturing process by Chinese foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC).

There are eight FPGAs that range in size from 4,000 to 150,000 logic elements and that support standard interfaces such as general-purpose I/O, PLLs, oscillators, MIPI, DDR, LVDS, among others. The Trion platform is supported by Efinix’s. The Efinity integrated design environment (IDE) provides development support for the FPGAs.

The basic building block of the Quantum technology is the eXchangeable Logic and Routing (XLR) cell. An XLR cell can function as either a 4-input LUT-based logic cell or a routing switch encoded with a scalable, flexible routing structure. This innovation improves the active area utilization by 4X compared to traditional FPGAs, resulting in up to 4X area efficiency and a 2X power advantage.

Quantum technology only requires seven metal layers for implementation, compared to traditional FPGAs that have 10 to 14 layers. Fewer metal layers translate to a better cost structure and ease of ASIC/ASSP/FPGA integration, the company said.

It is notable that similar ease-of-integration claims are made by Flex Logix, a licensor of FPGA fabric. However, while Quantum's XLR cell is based on the 4-input LUT it is notable that Flex Logix is opting for a 6-input LUT claiming it to offer higher performance and better functional density.

"We are grateful to have pre-paid customers waiting for our initial Trion FPGAs, which is a first in the FPGA industry," said Sammy Cheung, co-founder and CEO of Efinix, in a statement. "Trion FPGAs attract customers working on new innovations and applications that cannot be supported by traditional FPGAs."

Rich Sevcik, a former board member at Xilinx