Spartan-IIE development board.
It's rather, shall we say, spartan, but $99 marks a new low price point.
Here's something really intesting and (perhaps) important.
3-D semiconductor technologies. Actual details are sketchy.
It appears their first products will be a high-density, cheap-per-bit PROM.
Former Xilinx Senior VP Dennis Segers is the President and CEO of
Hmm, taking chemical-mechanical planarization to extremes?
Hmm, multiple active layers?
Hmm, once they lay out one layer of PROM or whatever, do they then
deposit a new bulk Si substrate layer and build a new layer of transistors
in that? Hmm, somehow making vertical contacts between active layers?
Hmm, I wonder if it will work for logic (not just memory) -- probably
terrible heat (and maybe power supply) issues!
Hmm, I wonder how you model yields and defects?
Tony Smith, The Register:
Rambus founder's Matrix unveils first 3D memory chip.
Semiconductor Business News:
Start-up prepares to deliver first 3-D memory chips:
"Memory cards based on Matrix 3-D Memory will be write-once..."
One more thing. Remember: an FPGA is (more or less) just a great big memory
(SRAM or FLASH ROM) that drives some muxes and pass gates and buffers.
If a vendor can fabricate a humongous (and cheap) PROM, then perhaps it
can also fabricate a humongous (and cheap) programmable logic device...
Thomas H. Lee, Matrix Semiconductor, in Scientific American:
A Vertical Leap for Microchips.
"Building directly on these 2-D technologies, we have made 3-D circuits
by coating standard silicon wafers with many successive layers of
polysilicon (as well as insulating and metallic layers), polishing the
surface flat after each step. Although electrons do not move quite as
easily in polysilicon as they do in the single-crystal kind, research has
produced 3-D transistors with 90 to 95 percent of the electron mobility
seen in their 2-D counterparts.