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Xilinx marks production qualification milestone of Virtex-5 devices

Posted: 08 Jun 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGAs? Virtex-5 series? programmable logic?

Programmable logic specialist Xilinx Inc. has announced production qualification of its LX50 and LX50T FPGAs, the first two devices in the Virtex-5 65nm series.

The production qualification of these devicescoming a year after the Vitex-5 was unveiledis a significant milestone for Xilinx as it proves the company is able to deliver the promised benefits of 65nm to its customers, Cheng Hing Nan, APAC marketing director at Xilinx, told EE Times-Asia.

"We are in mass production mode now," Cheng announced. "That is very significant because there [have been criticisms] regarding our ability to deliver, and we proved to the world that we are able to produce and deliver the products to our customers."

Over the past year, Xilinx imposed stringent internal process controls to ensure the timely delivery of the Virtex-5 devices, keeping in mind the lessons learned from the 90nm Virtex-4's birth pains. Foundry partners UMC and Toshiba helped test, qualify and re-verify the various stages of the 65nm process as well as the products themselves, Cheng said.

Xilinx is the first one to take advantage of this advance process technology for FPGAs, according to Cheng. The company is now shipping 13 devices across three of four Virtex-5 families. These three are LX, LXT and SXT. Volume production began last month, putting pressure on the competition, Cheng said. "They need to [play] catch-up," he said, underscoring that Xilinx is now at least a year ahead of its competitors.

Xilinx has also been getting in touch with its customer base in recent weeks, highlighting its one-year 65nm milestone with product demos at the same time getting feedback from engineers. Customer response in Asia has been "very, very positive," revealed Cheng. Virtex-5 is particularly suited for high-performance applications such as 3D medical imaging, high-performance base stations, HD audio/video broadcasting, radar and sonar, and HD video surveillance, especially in the high-end markets of China, South Korea and India.

Looking ahead, Xilinx said its expansion plans include venturing in the FPGAs-for-DSPs arena. It has already begun with the recent rollout of the Virtex-5 SXT family optimized for high-performance DSP applications.

There has been intensified competition between FPGAs and DSPs as design becomes more complex, but Cheng said there is room for both. "DSP application is everywhere. However, the demand for DSP has been escalating over the years, so the traditional devices in the marketplace actually could not meet this complex, higher-performance demand. FPGA tries to fill up this gap," he said.

Cheng also explained that Xilinx has two approaches to tackling the challenges that come with penetrating a new market: developing solutions that would complement its DSP partners, such as those with Texas Instruments Inc., while providing existing FPGA engineers wanting to use DSP applications with the tools and IP packages they require.

The company is likewise bent on maintaining its lead over the competition by exploring new and advanced technologies, and 45nm and beyond is definitely in the pipeline, Cheng revealed.

- Elizabeth Valdezco
EE Times-Asia

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