Small chipmaker’s big ambitions

All the latest news and announcements from XCore and XMOS.
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jason
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Small chipmaker’s big ambitions

Postby jason » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:16 am

Great article on the Financial Times this morning about XMOS with a super opening paragraph:
"Under the solemn gaze of a life-size toy moose and rhinoceros, David May and Terry Leeder are explaining their plans for turning the small business started by Prof May into a big part of the global semiconductor industry."
If you have ever visited the XMOS office that will probably bring back a memory or two.

Go check it out here: http://bit.ly/gZgE4u (the FT requires you to register for free to read it, but it is a good read none the less).
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leon_heller
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Postby leon_heller » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:58 am

It was a good article, apart from a bit of hyperbole regarding Altera and Xylinx (sic). XMOS only competes with them on low-end applications, and it isn't its main market.

Can we have a photo of the moose and rhino?
abraxalito
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Postby abraxalito » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:23 pm

The XMOS marketing I've seen pitches the product up against FPGAs and as Altera and Xilinx are the top dogs there, it makes sense to me. What do you consider to be the primary market then?
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leon_heller
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Postby leon_heller » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:12 pm

The main market is high-performance embedded systems.
abraxalito
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Postby abraxalito » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:29 pm

..and high-performance embedded systems don't use Xilinx and/or Altera then, in your view?
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leon_heller
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Postby leon_heller » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:59 pm

They mostly use MCUs, like ARM chips. I suppose they could use an MCU like the Xilinx MicroBlaze in an FPGA, but that's expensive unless the FPGA is also needed for something else.
abraxalito
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Postby abraxalito » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Well I'd guess most people using ARM these days would be going for SoCs, where the peripherals are already provided. I think the latest incarnation of mid-range ARM (Cortex M4) might be a competitor for XMOS. Certainly I'm torn between the two of these for my project - the biggest draw is the standard instruction set which makes the code eminently portable across different vendor's platforms. To me that's one of the biggest (maybe the only major) weaknesses of Xcores.

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