Lattice’s New Certus-NX FPGAs Bring New Meaning To Low Power And Fast Execution

Lattice Semiconductor Certus-NX
 LATTICE SEMICONDUCTOR

I have written extensively about Lattice’s FPGAs including the CrossLinkPlus and MachXO3D FPGAs, and how the company has reinvented itself and is positioning itself as the leader in low power FPGAs. Because of the flexibility of FPGAs in general, they tend to be capable of addressing many different markets simultaneously, however many higher density FPGAs tend to sacrifice power for size. However, Lattice is laser focused on low power and as a result, they are already in a unique class of their own in many of the markets that they play in. Lattice’s foot is fully on the gas for product announcements with this new Certus-NX FPGA being the second product released on the Lattice Nexus FPGA platform in the last 6 months.

This quick delivery is consistent with Lattice’s new product development strategy that is now producing at a 3x higher cadence than previously. For example, over the past year Lattice has introduced the MachXO3D, CrossLinkPlus, CrossLink-NX, and Certus-NX FPGA families. Lattice is also investing in more than silicon, developing complete solutions stacks such as Lattice sensAI and Lattice mVision that speed customers to market. Above and beyond all of these new products, Lattice has promised a new Lattice Nexus based FPGA family and a new solutions stack in the 2nd half of 2020. Lattice is executing well and meeting or beating their commitments.

Lattice Semiconductor Certus-NX
 LATTICE SEMICONDUCTOR

Lattice Nexus is the industry’s first low power FPGA platform that utilizes the 28 nm FD-SOI fab process. This allows the Certus-NX to have a 3x smaller foot print. These relatively small sized FPGAs have many applications, ranging from intelligent computing and 5G to multiple industrial and automotive applications. Even when the Certus-NX is using the smallest package available in the family, it still delivers up to twice the I/O density per mm2 compared to competing FPGA solutions. This is all while delivering 4x lower power consumption.

The Certus-NX family also has robust I/O capabilities including 1.5 Gbps differential I/O with performance that Lattice claims is 70% higher than the competition’s FPGAs. The new Certus-NX is also very reliable and secure, with an SER (soft-error rate) 100 times better than the competition and is temperature rated for industrial applications. In terms of security, the FPGAs support AES-256 bit encryption with ECDSA authentication as well as support for ECC and SEC in hardware.

The new Certus-NX FPGAs are not only low power, secure, and reliable, but they are also incredibly responsive. Lattice is claiming that these new low power Certus-NX FPGAs have ‘instant-on’ performance. This means that the devices offer super-fast device configuration from SPI memory that is twelve times faster than similar competing FPGA solutions. Instant-on support is particularly important for safety-critical applications, where devices must always be available to perform as designed or damage and injury can result.  

The big takeaways here with the new Certus-NX family is that not only is Lattice bringing some of the smallest, most I/O dense FGPAs to market, but they are also instant-on with some serious low power chops. I believe that the Certus-NX FPGAs could sneak their way into many different applications where highly reliable, low power processing is needed. At a more macro level, the other big takeaway here is that Certus-NX provides another proof point that the Lattice team is executing to plan and delivering a higher cadence of differentiated products. They have already committed to another FPGA family built on the Lattice Nexus platform by year end. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.