Intel’s FPGA strategy comes into focus | Virtual Reality

Three years after acquiring maker Altera for $16.7 billion, Intel’s strategy and positioning is coming into focus with the disclosure of its plans for Stratix 10 hardware and accompanying application development and acceleration stack.

Altera made two FPGAs, chips that are reprogrammable to do different functions. The Arria 10, which is the low-end card, and Stratix 10, the high-performance card. The two are aimed at different target markets and use cases.

“Each has its own tier, its own sweet spot for features and form factor,” said Sabrina Gomez, director of product marketing at Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group. “Arria is smaller, fits in 1U form factors. Stratix is dual PCI card. The power draw for Arria is 75 watts, while it’s 225 watts for Stratix.”

Stratix 10

Stratix 10 has much higher bandwidth and capacity, with four times the on-chip memory and twice as much DDR4 memory on the card to deliver more than double the performance of Arria. With 32GB of memory, the Stratix 10 card — twice that of Arria — and double the logic elements, the sizes of the workloads can be extended considerably vs. the Arria.

Arria 10

Arria 10, which comes on a small PCI Express card, is more suited for backtesting, database acceleration and image processing, with a little artificial intelligence () and genomics thrown in, while Stratix is a bigger card, requiring a 2U chassis, and is aimed at transcoding, streaming analytics, and risk management types of applications.

Because the development stack abstracts the hardware, you can use Arria for developing AI and then deploy them on Stratix-accelerated hardware seamlessly, Gomez said.

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