Why is there an Altera FPGA on QTS Birch Stream boards?

MWC 2024: No conspiracies, just timing in this case

In a past article SemiAccurate mentioned the Altera Max 10 FPGA seen on Intel Birch Stream boards. We can now answer the question about what they are doing there.

If you recall in our article about the two Birch Stream boards SemiAccurate saw at MWC, we said there was a big mystery chip at the bottom. Actually it wasn’t a mystery chip, it was clearly marked as an Altera Max 10, the mystery was why was it there? The answer is pretty banal but first lets take a look at the part in question.

QTS Birch Stream SP Altera Max 10

Altera Max 10 on Birch Stream-SP

The reason we bring this up is that the Max 10 is a pretty large FPGA that consumes a fair bit of power. It may only be tens of dollars on a (likely) multi-thousand dollar board as we discussed earlier, but cost is cost. So why is it there and is it really necessary?

Note: The following is for professional and student level subscribers.

Disclosures: Charlie Demerjian and Stone Arch Networking Services, Inc. have no consulting relationships, investment relationships, or hold any investment positions with any of the companies mentioned in this report.

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate