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Electronics Production | November 12, 2010

Core-based FPGA Market set to rise by 250%

According to IMS Research, the future for FPGA vendors looks very bright as the core-based FPGA market is expected to gain over a billion dollars in annual revenues by 2014.
This represents over two and a half times the 2009 annual revenues. Tom Hackenberg, Research Manager, and author of the Comprehensive Processors Report, World 2010 Edition, predicts most of this growth will come at the expense of the core-based ASIC and ASSP market, but vendors of these application specific processors will hardly notice as the combined core-based application specific processor market is predicted to grow to almost $47 billion by 2014.

The primary reasons for core-based FPGA growth are improved process geometries down to as low as 28 nm or even 22 nm by 2014, and Bus structures such as AMBA are being integrated into the FPGA array to accommodate hybridization of core-based strategies to instantiate one or more synthesized cores. Many SoC solutions vendors and traditional processor vendors are entering the market with a wider variety of core-based FPGA solutions.
Historically, FPGAs were viewed as primarily prototyping solutions as the power, price and did not compare favorably with application specific processors. As FPGAs move to the cutting edge manufacturing metrics, their average performance becomes competitive over a wider range of solutions. With recent developments in core-compatible bus designs and core choices, that reputation is likely to change dramatically.

Between Altera, MicroSemi (Actel), Cypress Semiconductor, Xilinx and a number of other providers of core-based programmable logic solutions, a wide range of core-based FPGA solutions will be available. As non-recurring expenses associated with the initial design of application specific processors continues to rise, the spaces where core-based FPGAs will be cost effective continues to expand. As application specific vendors continue to compete for the higher volume markets, the core-based FPGAs will become more attractive at moderate volumes.

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