Comms chips

Xilinx Vows to Maintain TTM Lead

Xilinx Inc. announced sales of $579 million in the second quarter of its fiscal 2017, up 10% from the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. Second quarter net income was $164 million.

Up until recently -- the past two or three years -- Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) lagged in the market, especially against rival Altera, now part of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). The reason for that was fairly simple, explained Moshe Gavrielov, Xilinx president and chief executive officer (CEO): Xilinx was often late to market.

Having learned that lesson, the company determined to be first to market or very close to it with FPGAs at each new manufacturing process node. Gavrielov said the company managed the feat at the 28-, 20- and 16-nanometer nodes.

With the current state-of-the-art 16nm products, Xilinx appears to have a full year's lead on Intel. Gavrielov said that its foundry, TSMC, produced chips that met spec on its very first try last year -- a very rare occurrence. Since then, Xilinx has started shipping nine 16nm product to customers, with a number of additional designs soon ready to be manufactured in volume.

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TSMC's demonstration of its manufacturing skills and the resulting one-year cushion at 16nm has emboldened Xilinx. Where most of its rivals have a 10 nm node on their roadmaps before moving on to 7nm (pretty close to the physical limit of shrinking silicon features), Xilinx plans to skip straight to 7nm with the intent of keeping its time-to-market lead.

FPGAs have become critical as accelerators in high performance computing applications, including data centers. Programmable by nature (that's the P in FPGA), they are also in high demand for artificial intelligence applications, which includes everything from data centers to autonomous vehicles.

Xilinx is also coming off two straight quarters with record sales to test and measurement vendors. That business is expected to return to previous levels, Gavrielov said, but that's okay. "There is no competition for the capability we bring there," he boasted.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

tonyNetworker 10/21/2016 | 4:44:40 AM
Great for Xilinx Xilinx is coming back, it's a good news.
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