FPGAs lure designers from ASICs DSPs embedded processors says Linley report

February 11, 2011 – Marketwire — Estimating that FPGA year-over-year revenue rose 51% in 2010, The Linley Group released the second edition of its FPGA report, "A Guide to FPGAs." The report highlights the ongoing battle for market leadership between Altera and Xilinx, and analyzes the prospects of smaller FPGA players such as Lattice, as well as startups Achronix and Tabula. Detailing the technology trends and market outlook for FPGAs, the report provides market share and a forecast for this important chip sector.

Though Xilinx maintains a commanding lead with 52% of the market, Altera has made important progress in closing the share gap, having beaten Xilinx to market with its 40nm offering. With 39% of the market, Altera trails Xilinx by 13 percentage points, a significantly smaller margin than the 22% gap seen in 2009. The Linley Group does not expect Altera to continue to close the share gap at this rapid pace, however, as Xilinx has a highly competitive 28nm product offering that appears to be on track. Meanwhile, start-up Achronix could be the first to reach 22nm because of its strategic partnership with Intel. Although Xilinx and Altera continue to hold 90% of the market, Lattice is showing success as a mid-range FPGA player, growing significantly in both 2009 and 2010.

"FPGAs are replacing ASICs in many designs," said Joseph Byrne, senior analyst with The Linley Group. "Many ASICs cannot affordably be made in a leading-edge process technology, whereas FPGAs can. FPGAs, thus, offer similar per-unit cost and logic density as these ASICs, but with the added advantage of lower non-recurring costs and greater flexibility. In addition, advanced high-level synthesis tools and forthcoming CPU-FPGA hybrids are making FPGAs an increasingly attractive alternative not only to ASICs, but to embedded processors and DSPs as well."

The report contains in-depth chapters on the highest profile FPGA vendors, analyzing each company’s product offering and roadmap. The Linley Group estimates that FPGA revenue topped $4 billion in 2010, up 51 percent over 2009.

"A Guide to FPGAs, Second Edition" is currently available directly from The Linley Group, http://www.linleygroup.com/Reports/fpga_guide.html

The Linley Group provides independent technology analysis of semiconductors for networking, communications, mobile, and wireless applications. The company offers strategic consulting services, in-depth analytical reports, and Linley Tech events focused on advanced technology topics. Learn more at www.linleygroup.com

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