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Leadership / Digital Transformation

Intel to Acquire Fabless Semiconductor Specialists eASIC

Intel has boosted its programmable solutions portfolio by acquiring eASIC, as part of a strategic move to diversify away from CPU chips.

The Santa-Clara-based company, founded in 1999 will be joining Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group, Intel’s smallest division.

eASIC’s products focus particularly on application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). It is best know for its flagship platform, eASIC Nextreme.

Its most recent eASIC Nextreme-3S family has an architecture designed for either logic, DSP or memory-intensive applications, and provides over one 1TB of bandwidth using a combination of 28 Gbps and 16 Gbps high speed transceivers.

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Dan McNamara, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group said in a release: “eASIC has a proven, 19-year success record, leading products and a world-class team, which will join Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group. The addition of eASIC will help us meet customers’ diverse needs of time-to-market, features, performance, cost, power and product life cycles.”

Silicon is Competitive

Silicon is becoming a competitive marketplace at the moment and Intel has been expanding its product line in recent years.

Field-programmable gate array (FPGA) has seen an uptake in adoption where customers are using FPGA to design high-performance, power-constrained applications in the market.

Markets such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless and network begin with FPGAs before migrating to structured ASIC devices.

A Structured ASIC is an intermediary technology between the FPGAs and ASICs, offering performance and efficiency closer to a standard-cell ASIC.

Although, a structured ASIC delivers at a faster design time and at a fraction of the non-recurring engineering costs than a standard ASIC.

What Does the Intel/eASIC Acquisition Entail?

The American multinational sees the eASIC acquisition as an opportunity to architect a new programmable chip.

The chip would take advantage of Intel’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) to combine the company’s FPGAs with structured ASICs in a system-in-package solution.

McNamara added: “Specifically, having a structured ASICs offering will help us better address high-performance and power-constrained applications that we see many of our customers challenged with in market segments like 4G and 5G wireless, networking and IoT.”

“We can also provide a low-cost, automated conversion process from FPGAs (including competing FPGAs) to structured ASICs.”

Intel is expected to complete the acquisition of eASIC Corporation by the third quarter of 2018 once customary conditions have been met.
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