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Xilinx intros next-gen EasyPath FPGAs priced below structured ASICs.

Xilinx, Inc. has announced the next generation of its EasyPath solution as the FPGA industry's lowest cost and only conversion-free replacement to ASICs for volume production. The expanded EasyPath product line now supports the Xilinx Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 Platform FPGAs, starting at just $12.95 for 30,000 logic cells and half the price of comparable Structured ASIC offerings. The new families of Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 EasyPath FPGAs deliver unprecedented price-performance value over Structured ASICs, with the most comprehensive selection of silicon and intellectual property (IP) platforms available.

Advances in the patented EasyPath test technology also provide the unique benefit of design flexibility with platform features and price points better than those available with Structured ASICs. This opens the gateway for more companies and applications to leverage all the advantages of FPGAs from prototype through production at the lowest possible cost. Xilinx has seen broad adoption of its EasyPath approach through multiple design engagements.

"As applications move into volume production, companies want an easy, no-rispath to cost reduction without the resource and time requirements of converting to ASICs. Our EasyPath solutions provide the lowest total cost and fastest no-conversion ramp to volume production, and now include the flexibility to make design changes, at prices below Structured ASICs," said Mustafa Veziroglu, general manager of the Market-Specific Products Division at Xilinx. "This radically changes how companies will use FPGAs, because they now have a proven, reliable solution for prototype through volume production, all from a single, trusted supplier that is committed to low cost leadership."

The Xilinx EasyPath solution leverages commonly used redundancy techniques standard in the semiconductor industry and patented test technology to lower FPGA costs by up to 80 percent. EasyPath FPGAs also derive cost benefits because they are based on the cost and performance-optimized architectures of the 90-nanometer Xilinx Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 FPGAs.

Companies can transition their Xilinx FPGAs to the lowest device cost for volume production in as little as eight weeks with no conversion required and identical functionality. The reliability and quality metrics for EasyPath devices are identical to their FPGA counterparts with test coverage superior to Structured ASICs. Unlike ASIC approaches, EasyPath FPGAs feature the industry's lowest non-recurring engineering (NRE) charges without any additional engineering or re-qualification costs, IP or tool investments required. Developers can calculate their design-specific savings for EasyPath FPGAs using the free cost analyzer utility from Xilinx at http://www.xilinx.com/easypath/costanalyzer.

"EasyPath FPGAs can now compete successfully against Structured ASICs in the areas of low cost, high volume and performance," said Rich Wawrzyniak, senior analyst for ASICs and SoC at Semico Research Corporation. "The lower price points now achievable through the Xilinx EasyPath products broaden out the markets and applications that are directly addressable by FPGAs. This brings additional off-the-shelf alternatives to those designers contemplating a Structured ASIC solution. It also preserves the low 'cost-to-create' and time-to-market goals they require to achieve success in their respective markets."

Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 EasyPath FPGAs, unlike any ASIC, offer designers the ability to implement in-system engineering change orders (ECOs) using fully re-programmable look-up tables (LUTs) and flexible IOs. Designers can make changes without re-spins, which greatly reduces engineering, bill of materials and inventory costs as compared to ASIC approaches. In addition, EasyPath FPGAs now support two design variations in a single device--typically one to assist in the customer's system diagnostic test and one for the actual application--further reducing costs and providing unmatched flexibility.

"COPAN Systems has leveraged Xilinx technology to radically change the value proposition for storage solutions by delivering disk-based performance at the price and scale of tape," said Eric Sumpter, COO at COPAN Systems. "The new Xilinx EasyPath offering and conversion-free design methodology allow us to continue to rapidly deliver new innovations to our customers through programmable logic. Now, with much lower prices and more flexibility, it also enables our developers to decide much later in the design cycle when to move from an FPGA to a low-cost device for volume production."

Xilinx nearly tripled the number of devices supported by the next generation EasyPath solution across its four feature-rich FPGA families and six silicon platforms, coupled with the industry's most popular design tools and broadest portfolio of hard and soft IP cores available today for FPGAs. The addition of the Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 Platform FPGAs to the Virtex-II and Virtex-II Pro EasyPath offerings already in full production brings the total to 28 devices that range in complexity from 20,000 to 200,000 logic cells.

The next-generation EasyPath solutions leverage the robust Xilinx development ecosystem which features hard IP support for multi-Gigabit serial transceivers, Power PC and Ethernet MAC cores; more than 600 proven soft IP cores; and the easy-to-use, low-cost Xilinx Integrated Software Environment (ISE) design suite.

The EasyPath conversion-free design methodology ensures first-time success with no feature disparities and no discrepancies in logic and timing as compared to the underlying FPGA device. There is also no need to redesign, re-qualify or re-verify prior to production signoff, thus eliminating all the risks and significant costs of re-qualifying an ASIC conversion.

"With the combined benefits of lower prices, unmatched flexibility and conversion-free methodology of the EasyPath solution, Structured ASICs are essentially relegated to an even smaller niche," continued Veziroglu. "Companies can now leverage all the advantages of Xilinx FPGAs along with the benefits of prices below Structured ASICs with the next generation EasyPath FPGAs."

Xilinx offers EasyPath FPGAs for its Virtex-II, Virtex-II Pro, Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 Platform FPGAs. EasyPath solutions range in price from 30 to 80 percent below their standard FPGA counterparts. For example, list price for a Spartan-3 EasyPath XCE3S1500 is $12.95 U.S. with $75,000 NRE and 50,000 unit minimum order quantities in second half calendar year 2005. The new design flexibility features are offered as options for Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 EasyPath FPGAs and include incremental NRE and unit costs.

Virtex-II and Virtex-II Pro EasyPath FPGAs are in full production today. Spartan-3 and Virtex-4 EasyPath solutions are available for design now with volume production in mid-2005.
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Title Annotation:Field Programmable Gate-Array, Application Specific Integrated Circuit
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 18, 2004
Words:1002
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