Intel to Acquire Custom Chip Maker eASIC


Intel's headquarters. / Photo by: BrokenSphere via Wikimedia Commons


Intel announced recently the acquisition of a custom chip company, eASIC, to boosts its Programmable Solutions Group. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.

In the internet of things ecosystem, developers of high-performance, power-constrained applications sometimes deploy their products with field programmable gate arrays. FPGAs are used for its flexibility and time-to-market speed rate. But if they use FPGAs, they may need to use ASICs to further improve the apps' performance and enhance power efficiency. The ASIC or Application-Specific Integrated Circuit is a chip customized to perform that particular function.

In this light, Intel’s upcoming acquisition will expand their programmable solutions portfolio with structured ASICs by eASIC. As a result, the purchase can cater to the many needs of customers like development costs and product life cycles. Supporting these needs can help consumers connect to technology markets including 4G and 5G wireless connectivity.

"The marriage of the eASIC technology with IP and capabilities of Intel will allow the ubiquitous deployment of this proven structured ASIC product into a wide breadth of exciting end applications and markets," said Ronnie Vasishta, CEO and President at EASIC, quoted ZDNet.

According to eASIC, their current platform is called Nextreme. In the said platform, the chipset has a size of 45 nanometers that includes CMOS process. It supports up to 10 7.4 millions equivalent gates, 6.5 Gbps high-speed transceivers, and 80 percent power consumption compared to standard FPGAs. In Nextreme-3, the chipset has a size of 28 nm with enhanced architecture and performance compared with the previous model. Meanwhile, the Nextreme-3S has an architecture ideal for an array of technical requirements, including quicker time-to-market and better power management.

Different companies around the world including Huawei, Microsoft, and Seagate have been supported by the eASIC platform. If the acquisition works, Intel may be able to build a new class of programmable chips that use the Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge technology which permits newer platforms with higher bandwidth and lower power consumption.