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Type Private
Industry Semiconductors
Founded 2004
Headquarters San Jose, California, US
Key people Robert Blake (CEO), John Lofton Holt (Chairman), Rahul Nimaiyyar (VP HW Engineering), Kamal Choudhary (VP SW Engineering), Steve Mensor (VP Marketing), Edward Archer (VP Sales)
Products FPGA
Employees <200

Achronix Semiconductor is a fabless semiconductor company based in San Jose, California with R&D in Bangalore, Karnataka. It designs high-speed asynchronous field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) chips, manufactured at Intel Fabs since 2012. The series of 22 nm FPGAs is called Speedster 22i and is manufactured using Tri-Gate process.[1] Company was founded in 2004 by group from Cornell University: Dr. Rajit Manohar, Dr. Clinton Kelly IV, Dr. Virantha Ekanayake and John Lofton Holt.[2] It was included in EE Times 60 Emerging Startups list in 2005.[3] Prototypes of its FPGAs was made using 180 nm (TSMC, September 2005) and 90 nm (STMicroelectronix, April 2006).[2][4]

Achronix has raised over $120 million in venture funding.[5] According to interview in December 2012 with company chairman John Lofton Holt, Achronix may do IPO in 2014.[6]

Achronix was the first company allowed to use Intel's fabs and had begun shipping of the product.[7] There are 5 fabless companies announced at the middle of 2013 with agreements for chip manufacturing at Intel: Achronix, Tabula, Netronome, Microsemi and Altera.[8][9]

According to Kevin Morris, Achronix and Tabula may become #3 and #4 producers of high-end FPGA chips (First two are Xilinx and Altera).[10]


Early product line from Achronix was "Speedster" FPGAs of 2009, manufactured using 65 nm node. This chip used 4-input LUTs, grouped in blocks of size 8 LUT each. Total available LUT count was 25 - 164 thousands, and chip had maximum frequency of 1.5 GHz.[11]

"Speedster 22i" FPGA, the current Achronix product line, is series of asynchronous SRAM based FPGAs with 140-220 thousands of 4-input LUTs and running at 1,2 - 1,5 GHz clock.[12] There are two sub-families: HD (high density, slower clock) and HP (high performance).[13] In largest variant Speedster has 2597 pins total, 960 are used for GPIO, some are used for 80 SerDes (16 with speed 28Gbit/s and others with 13Gbit/s). Controllers of 100 Gigabit Ethernet, Interlaken, PCIe 3.0, DDR3 are integrated as hard IP cores.[12][14]

Since 2012, Achronix offers some licensable IP-Cores of embedded FPGA.[15] For example, there were projects with BAE Systems to develop radiation-tolerant FPGAs for space.[16]

In the end of 2012, Achronix declared plans of Speedster 22i HD family. First FPGA of this family is the "HD 1000" with 6 billions of transistors,[6] and 700 thousands of classic 4-input LUTs, running at 750 MHz. The chip includes only 12.75 Gbit/s SerDes[13] HD1000 was made on 22-nm TriGate (FinFET) process at Intel Foundries and arrived to the market in February, 2013.[17] HD1000 Development Kits are available for 13 thousand USD.[18][19]

Achronix products aimed to high performance communications segment of FPGA market,[20] including networking solution.[21]


  1. ^ Dylan McGrath, Intel to fab FPGAs for startup Achronix // EETimes, 10/31/2010
  2. ^ a b The World’s Fastest CMOS FPGA for Commercial and Extreme Environments // Achronix, 2005
  3. ^ EE Times updates list of 60 emerging startups. Fourth edition of the Silicon60 // Peter Clarke, EETimes, 11/1/2005: "EE Times welcomes the following companies to the 60 Emerging Startups list version 4.0: Achronix Semiconductor LLC"
  4. ^ Reconfigurable, High Density, Gigahertz Speed Low Power Radiation Hardened FPGA Technology // Achronix, 2009, slide 9
  5. ^ Management -> John Lofton Holt // Achronix
  6. ^ a b Achronix 6 billion transistor FPGAs: Take two Junko Yoshida // EETimes 12/4/2012
  7. ^ Foundry Model Challenges Intel // Design&Reuse, 8/28/2013
  8. ^ Intel dabbles in contract manufacturing, weighing tradeoffs // The Oregonian, July 27, 2013
  9. ^ Inside Intel's deal to let FPGA biz Altera use its 22nm TriGate fabs. As Achronix loses its Chipzilla exclusivity // The Register, 26th February 2013
  10. ^ FPGA Wars. It’s Getting Hot at the Top // EEJournal, March 5, 2013: " the high-end of the FPGA market has been a stable duopoly for years. Xilinx and Altera play the one-two roles almost as poster-children for a duopoly marketing textbook.... This means the traditional two-horse race has a very real chance of becoming a four-horse race, which .. has a completely different dynamic than a stable duopoly"
  11. ^ Donald G. Bailey, Design for Embedded Image Processing on FPGAs, chapter: "2.4.4 Achronix"
  12. ^ a b Joseph Byrne, Achronix Speedster 22i Has More I/O // LINLEY Wire, May 11, 2012
  13. ^ a b My Take on Achronix & Its Products, Paul Dillien, 3/11/2013
  14. ^ Tabula, Achronix try driving unique design advantages into solidifed FPGA sector // EDN Network, May 2, 2013
  15. ^ Achronix to license out FPGA IP // EETimes, Peter Clarke, 10/4/2012
  16. ^ [1]: "More recently, Achronix and BAE Systems announced an agreement to jointly develop a reconfigurable radiation-hardened FPGA using a combination of BAE Systems’ radiation-hardened fabrication process and a radiation-tolerant version of Achonix’s asynchronous FPGA fabric."
  17. ^ Achronix is shipping 22nm Speedster22i FPGAs, Clive Maxfield, EETimes, 2/25/2013
  18. ^ 22nm FPGAs target high bandwidth apps // EDNAsia, 25 Feb 2013
  19. ^ Achronix ships 22nm Speedster22i FPGAs. Achronix Semiconductor has begun shipping its Speedster22i HD1000 FPGA to customers. // Evertiq New Media AB, Sweden, 21 February 2013
  20. ^ Will Intel change the fpga and foundry worlds? // New Electronics, Findlay Media Ltd, 24 April 2012
  21. ^ Network-Targeted FPGAs: 22nm Technology Power/Cost Advantages, Denny Scharf, Achronix Semiconductor

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