MathStar Pioneering High Performance FPGA
MathStar http://www.mathstar.com is making in the running in the new high-performance (i.e. above 1GHz) FPGA area being developed by start-ups like Achronix and Cswitch.
LG of Korea has selected a MathStar chip to be used in an LG product that provides HDTV to hotel guests. It is a performance-intensive application. The MathStar chip-set in the decoder reformats H.264 MPEG-4 satellite signals so they can be displayed on existing MPEG-2 receivers. “MathStar’s FPOA technology combines the high performance and re-programmability needed to effectively deploy high-definition video,” says Doug Pihl, MathStar CEO. can be displayed on existing MPEG-2 receivers. “MathStar’s FPOA technology combines the high performance and re-programmability needed to effectively deploy high-definition video,” said Doug Pihl, MathStar CEO. can be displayed on existing MPEG-2 receivers. “Programmable logic technology from MathStar was critical to allowing our satellite transcoders to support a large installed base of legacy TV receiver”, says Richard Lewis, a v-p at LG. MathStar started shipping its first production-ready chip in the US in November to 17 customers, and the first products using the chip will be on the market in Q1 or early Q2. MathStar’s chip, its first, is a 1GHz device containing 400 processing elements for use in processing multiple streams of high definition video and multiple protocols. The first design-wins are in machine vision and professional video equipment. The second, 90nm chip, due in October, will contain 600 processing elements and the speed will go up by 15 to 20 per cent to 1.2GHz. It will come in two forms, a MAC-heavy version in October 2007, and an ALU-heavy version in January 2008. The 90nm chip will allow the company to target medical imaging and test and measurement applications. “The test and measurement people need a chip able to do 32-bit arithmetic. The 90nm chip can do that very effectively,” says Pihl. With the history of the programmable logic industry one of slow consolidation around Xilinx and Altera, with Lattice, Actel, and Quicklogic holding defensive niches, it will be interesting to see if the new wave of start-ups can open up the industry to so innovation and a new market dynamic