Xilinx's high-end Versal FPGA is like a designer handbag. If you need to ask the price, you probably can't afford it

Premium chip is 7nm, 4 Arm CPU cores, up to 7.4 million logic cells, multi-Tbps networking and crypto


Xilinx will today announce an FPGA that is a little bananas: the Versal Premium, aimed at cloud builders and telcos.

It's the sort of component that if you need to ask how much it costs, it's probably not for you. Instead, you need to specify how many you need, and the price will be calculated from there.

It includes a boatload of fixed silicon for performing networking, signal processing, and encryption at high speed, CPU cores running application code, and a big block of reconfigurable circuitry that can be arranged to accelerate specific workloads in hardware.

The reprogrammable hardware can be designed using high-level languages, such as C/C++, or low-level SystemVerilog and the like. It can be reconfigured within tens of milliseconds, we're told, so you can imagine one of these in a cloud server or a telco's routing gear, loading in different blocks of customized hardware acceleration on demand, and processing packets, video transcoding, analytics, or AI stuff in real-time as information flows through.

This TSMC-fabricated 7nm chip has dual-core Arm Cortex-A72 and dual-core Arm Cortex-R5F CPUs for running application code to direct the FPGA's operation. It sports PCIe 5 interfaces with DMA, CCIX, and CXL support; a DDR4 controller for external memory; 5Tbps of on-board Ethernet interface throughput; 1.8Tbps of Interlaken networking; 1.6Tbps of line-rate encryption; 9Tbps of PAM4 transceiver bandwidth; DSP engines; and other bits and pieces. There's also up to 1Gb of tightly coupled on-die memory.

The reconfigurable hardware slab contains up to 7.4 million system logic cells, which is a lot, and 3.4 million look-up tables (LUTs). That's enough to simulate your own CPU core, though that's not really the intended use case.

Xilinx is pitching this at organizations that would like to use their own customized silicon in cloud and communications infrastructure, but don't really want to splash out $25m-plus to develop their own chips over three to four years. Instead, they can opt for an FPGA in the short-term that has a shedload of programmable gates for speeding up custom workloads, and a clump of built-in acceleration for encryption and networking.

The cryptography engines, for one, support AES-GCM-256 and 128, MACsec, and IPsec.

The Versal Premium silicon, part of the ACAP family, is due to ship as samples in the first half of next year. Documentation is available now, if you want to take a look, and tools to prototype and configure it are expected to land in the second half of 2020.

The Versal Prime, the Premium's more modest sibling, was unveiled in 2018 for a 2019 launch. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Assange can go to UK Supreme Court (again) to fend off US extradition bid

    Top Brit judges may consider whether an American prison is just too much

    Julian Assange has won a technical victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK to the United States, buying him a few more months in the relative safety of Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh.

    Today at London's High Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett approved a question on a technical point of law, having refused Assange immediate permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The WikiLeaker's lawyers had asked for formal permission to pose this legal conundrum about Assange's likely treatment in US prisons to the Supreme Court:

    Continue reading
  • They see us Cinnamon Rolling, they're rating: GeckoLinux incorporates kernel 5.16 with familiar installation experience

    A nice, clean community distro that works well

    Most distros haven't got to 5.15 yet, but openSUSE's downstream project GeckoLinux boasts 5.16 of the Linux kernel and the latest Cinnamon desktop environment.

    Some of the big-name distros have lots of downstream projects. Debian has been around for decades so has umpteen, including Ubuntu, which has dozens of its own, including Linux Mint, which is arguably more popular a desktop than its parent. Some have only a few, such as Fedora. As far as we know, openSUSE has just the one – GeckoLinux.

    The SUSE-sponsored community distro has two main editions, the stable Leap, which has a slow-moving release cycle synched with the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise; and Tumbleweed, its rolling-release distro, which gets substantial updates pretty much every day. GeckoLinux does its own editions of both: its remix of Leap is called "GeckoLinux Static", and its remix of Tumbleweed is called "GeckoLinux Rolling".

    Continue reading
  • Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

    Winter Windows Is Coming

    It's coming. Microsoft is preparing to start shoveling the latest version of Windows 10 down the throats of refuseniks still clinging to older incarnations.

    The Windows Update team gave the heads-up through its Twitter orifice last week. Windows 10 2004 was already on its last gasp, have had support terminated in December. 20H2, on the other hand, should be good to go until May this year.

    Continue reading
  • Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them

    *Don't do this

    MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available.

    The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

    Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering connections of at least 30Gbps and possibly up to 40Gbps.

    Continue reading
  • Windows box won't boot? SystemRescue 9 may help

    An ISO image you can burn or drop onto a USB key

    The latest version of an old friend of the jobbing support bod has delivered a new kernel to help with fixing Microsoft's finest.

    It used to be called the System Rescue CD, but who uses CDs any more? Enter SystemRescue, an ISO image that you can burn, or just drop onto your Ventoy USB key, and which may help you to fix a borked Windows box. Or a borked Linux box, come to that.

    SystemRescue 9 includes Linux kernel 5.15 and a minimal Xfce 4.16 desktop (which isn't loaded by default). There is a modest selection of GUI tools: Firefox, VNC and RDP clients and servers, and various connectivity tools – SSH, FTP, IRC. There's also some security-related stuff such as Yubikey setup, KeePass, token management, and so on. The main course is a bunch of the usual Linux tools for partitioning, formatting, copying, and imaging disks. You can check SMART status, mount LVM volumes, rsync files, and other handy stuff.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022