To strengthen edge AI capabilities, what is the magic of Lattice's new CertusPro-NX general-purpose FPGA?

Lattice has launched a series of FPGA products based on Samsung’s 28nm FD-SOI platform, including CrossLink-NX, which is widely used in the embedded video, the redefined Certus-NX, the security-based FPGA Mach-NX that came out in Q4 last year, and the latest CertusPro-NX launched, in addition, two new products based on the FD-SOI platform will be launched next year.

In a recent media event, Pu Xiaoshuang, director of on-site technical support of Lattice Semiconductor, gave a detailed introduction and exchanges of new CertusPro-NX products.

According to Pu Xiaoshuang, CertusPro-NX has been further improved in terms of power consumption design, system bandwidth, edge processing, reliability, and packaging diversity.

Specifically, this product is based on the FD-SOI process and can realize logic units from 50K to 100K at most. On the high-speed interface, 8 SERDES channels are added, and the rate of each SERDES interface is up to 10Gpbs. At the same time, a flexible multi-protocol PCS has been added. Due to these newly added features, it can not only handle 10GE Ethernet but also support PCIeGen 3 and video interfaces such as DP/eDP.

Especially in the Camera Sensor, in addition to supporting the previous MIPI, it also supports the new SLVS-EC standard, which is mainly aimed at Sony Sensors. At the same time, it also supports a new video protocol-CoaXPress.

Edge processing capability is one of the main advantages of this chip. In addition to the traditional DSP Block, LRAM is also added, which can achieve 7.3Mb on-chip storage in 100K logic units. In addition, this is also the first product in the industry to support LPDDR4 in the look-up table of less than 100K, and it can support DDR3 interfaces at a rate of 1.06Gbps.

At present, the smallest package of this chip can achieve 9X9mm.

From the perspective of power consumption efficiency, we can see that when the lookup table is around 100K and the SERDES is at 5Gbps, the power consumption of the entire CertusPro-NX chip is reduced by up to 4 times. When the device supports 10Gbps, the power consumption is also reduced by up to 4 times. This is the benefit brought by the FD-SOI process.

Due to the addition of many programmable SERDES, each channel can achieve a rate of 10.3Gbps. In contrast, CertusPro-NX also has obvious advantages.

Optimized network edge processing and architecture optimized for AI applications. From the perspective of internal memory capacity, the storage space is increased by up to 65% compared with competing products.

In addition, from the perspective of reliability, CertusPro-NX supports a temperature range of -40 to 125 degrees, and its soft error rate FIT data is also 100 times that of competing products. The smallest package of 100K can achieve 9×9mm, and the package is smaller.

CertusPro-NX's application scheme is mainly suitable for three aspects: sensAI (low-power network edge AI), mVision (low-power embedded vision) and Automate (accelerated factory automation). Especially suitable for outdoor, automotive, industrial, security, and other application fields.

Pu Xiaoshuang said that this product will have obvious advantages in some application scenarios in terms of low power consumption, large storage, and small size. For example, when SFP optical modules are now implemented at 40G, 80G, and 100G, FPGAs are often used in them. At this time, its size must be less than 10×10. Since there is no space for heat dissipation, it requires its own power to be small. Our small package of 9×9 chip, in the absence of a heat dissipation environment, its low power consumption, and miniaturization are very big advantages.

CertusPro-NX supports the latest version of Lattice Radiant design software. Lattice has already delivered CertusPro-NX samples to some customers. Mass production shipments are expected in the second quarter of 2022.