Altera push for '40nm' process

Altera has claimed that it has sped up the process of migrating to TSMC’s most advanced process and expects to launch field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) on what TSMC claims to be a 40nm process later this year.

In a conference call with analysts on Wednesday (April 16), Altera president and CEO John Daane said: “We are accelerating our 40-nanometer deployment. We’re taking advantage of the fact that we are working with TSMC. They have the resources to be able to invest in developing new process technology nodes. We decided to accelerate some of the 40nm development with them, through a joint development programme in order to be a leader, not only in software and architecture but also a leader in process as well.”

Daane said the company has embarked on a programme of running test chips, claiming that simulation tools were not up to the job of predicting how circuits would behave on advanced processes. “This is a methodology that we have used for quite a few process generations. It allows us to know that the first chip that we end up developing will work,” he claimed.

“With our 40-nanometer product introductions this year, we’ll be in the strongest competitive position certainly since I have been with the company,” Daane claimed, but observed that the company is in a race with competitors, primarily the market leader Xilinx. “We feel very strongly that we will be early. I don’t know that we will be first to announce but I do think we will be in a very strong position, much stronger than we’ve been at the last three nodes.”

TSMC launched it calls its 40nm process several weeks ago. The company has confirmed that the process is the same as the 45nm technology that its engineers described at the International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM) in Washington late last year.

Image: Alteras current products are based on a 65nm process

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