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Xilinx touts cost-saving features of Spartan-3A FPGAs

Posted: 22 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGAs Spartan-3A? package small form-factor? SRAM?

Available now from Xilinx Inc. are small form-factor packages for its Extended Spartan-3A family of FPGAs. In addition to the new package options, the Extended Spartan-3A family provides a broad range of densities (from 50,000 to 3.4 million system gates), and power management features to enable designers to drive down system costs by minimizing board components and providing low-cost complex computation and embedded processing capabilities, says Xilinx.

The Extended Spartan-3A family combines new small form factor device packaging and the low-cost, high functionality of the Spartan-3A, Spartan-3A DSP and Spartan-3AN platforms into a single, high-volume FPGA family. With support for the industry's widest range of I/O standards (26) and extensive power saving and anti-cloning security features, Xilinx Spartan series is the world's most widely adopted low-cost FPGAs, claims the company.

Lower system cost
According to Xilinx, the Extended Spartan-3A FPGA solutions reduce overall system cost by up to 50 percent as compared to competitive low-cost FPGAs. The company adds that the Spartan-3A devices are also the only low cost SRAM FPGAs with built-in power management and minimal power rail support required (only two). The dual power management modes provide instant power savings and eliminate the need for external components such as regulators, heat sinks, buffers, etc. The suspend mode enables up to 40 percent static power savings, as well as quick wake up time and system-level synchronization, while the hibernate mode uses the lowest possible quiescent power (virtually 0?A) with its unique ability to completely power off.

Fully compliant
Moreover, Xilinx notes that the Extended Spartan-3A family is the only FPGA family to support a fully compatible path between SRAM and non-volatile FPGAs. The family also provides a broad offering of device package combinations, the most comprehensive intellectual property (IP) library (2x the nearest competitor), and a selection of Xilinx and third-party development boards and kits starting as low as $39. Designers, says Xilinx, can spend less time and money developing their own IP, while leveraging pre-verified IP that requires fewer chip resources.

The Extended Spartan-3A family also features the highest functionality of any major low cost FPGA, says Xiinx. The devices deliver an average of 70 percent logic efficiency over a gates-plus-multipliers implementation and functionality that enables ASIC-equivalent performance without requiring an additional co-processor chip. The Extended Spartan-3A family provides full Linux embedded processing support with the Xilinx MicroBlaze processor.

Prices start at under $1.00 for the slowest speed grade XC3S50A device in a VQ100 at 500,000 unit volumes in 2H 09.

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