Intel's Motivation to Buy Altera FPGA
Currently, Intel supplies Atom and Xeon processors for computing solutions.By acquiring Altera, Intel aims to target data-intensive networking centers at major companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Ebay. FPGA solutions are desirable because they increase performance and consume less power. For data centers that are built to maximize efficiency, a high performance, low-cost solution is ideal.
Intel's second aim is to target the faster growing mobile market. This market includes smartphones, tablets, and wearable technology. The demand and turnover for products in this market is much higher compared to computing devices. Mobile device makers rely on FPGA to power their products. FPGA used in mobile technology devices are available at low per unit costs.
Effect on Xilinx
At first glance, Intel's attempt to acquire Altera may not be the best news for Xilinx. Now, instead of competing against just Altera, Xilinx FPGA would be competing against Intel solutions which use Altera FPGA.
Last June, Intel announced an agreement to work with Altera and create a hybrid Xeon-FPGA chip. The hybrid chip would cater to a niche set of customers who are looking to accelerate performance. By including an FPGA, Xeon users can double the performance.
A move to buy Altera would have positive implications on other FPGA manufacturers, including Xilinx.
Second, Intel's takeover attempt indicates that the market for FPGA will continue to grow. FPGA will be used in complex networking and data-intensive solutions.
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