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Xilinx rolls out first Virtex-4 device with PowerPC processor

Posted: 11 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:xilinx? fx12? fpga? virtex-4? powerpc?

Xilinx Inc. introduced its new FX12 FPGAs, which are the first Virtex-4 devices with embedded PowerPC processor.

Shipped last week, the FX12 is the fifth member of the Virtex-4 family, bringing the total number of Xilinx devices shipping on the 90nm node to 13. "Delivery of the FX12 marks a major milestone in FPGA development by providing unprecedented levels of performance and capability with ultra low power-consumption and cost," said Erich Goetting, VP and GM of the Advanced Products Division at Xilinx. "This unique combination builds on the tremendous momentum we have established with the Virtex-II Pro family and enables a host of new applications in a wide range of markets including automotive, communications, storage, medical as well as test and instrumentation."

With the shipment of the FX12, Xilinx has now delivered devices from all three Virtex-4 platforms: the logic-optimized LX platform, the DSP-optimized SX platform, and the embedded processing-optimized FX platform.

The new FX12 features a 32bit embedded PowerPC processor running at up to 450MHz and delivering over 700 Dhrystone MIPS. According to the company, this enables the device to provide a direct 3x performance advantage over processors in competing 90nm FPGAs.

In addition, an auxiliary processor controller unit allows the processor to execute custom instructions in the FPGA fabric. The press release said that the APU controller enables FX devices to deliver a 20x-performance increase over fixed-instruction approaches as demonstrated by a recent encryption/decryption design created by Xilinx Research Labs.

Consuming 0.45mW/MHz, the FX12 processor core provides one of the world's lowest PowerPC power consumption. Xilinx said this low power is complemented by the triple-oxide technology used throughout Virtex-4 devices, reducing power to approximately half that of previous generation FPGAs. Combined, the low-power embedded PowerPC processor and triple-oxide technology reduce power to a fraction of that consumed by processors in competing 90nm FPGAs, added the company.

Two, fully-integrated UNH-certified 10/100/1000 Ethernet MACs further increase the Virtex-4 FX12's capability by enabling system communication and management functions, while saving up to 7,200 logic cells and further reducing power consumption. These include such critical functions as TCP/IP offload engines that require a full MAC plus TCP/IP stack, said the company.

The Virtex-4 FX12 is already available, with volume pricing starting at $29.99 for 50,000 units. Several Virtex-4 FX hardware development platforms will also be available in the near future.

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