Free Xilinx Picoblaze Microcontroller Expands Support to Virtex-II Series FPGAs and CoolRunner-II CPLDs

12/19/2002 - Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) announced that it has expanded device support for its free PicoBlaze 8-bit microcontroller reference design to include Virtex-IITM Series FPGAs and CoolRunner-IITM CPLDs. Now customers can leverage the complete range of programmable products from Xilinx, including the high performance Virtex-II Series to the low cost and low power CoolRunner-II CPLDs. The PicoBlaze reference design is fully customizable and is an ideal solution for quickly building simple, flexible, and extremely cost-effective embedded designs using programmable logic.

"PicoBlaze is an ideal solution for optimizing cost-sensitive designs," said Per Holmberg, director of programmable systems marketing at Xilinx. "It's easy to use and very area-efficient which has made it the most popular soft microcontroller in the market. By expanding support to include CoolRunner-II CPLDs and Virtex-II Series FPGAs, our users now have access to microcontroller solutions meeting even lower cost targets and higher performance."

All of the PicoBlaze reference designs support 49 different 16- to 18-bit instructions, 8 to 32 general-purpose 8-bit registers, 256 directly and indirectly addressable ports, reset, and a maskable interrupt.

The PicoBlaze for CoolRunner-II solution includes a generic C cross assembler and the VHDL source code that designers can customize for their specific needs. The CoolRunner-II version occupies only 107 macrocells and can be implemented in a XC2C128 (128-macrocell) device. In addition, the solution can be optimized to fit into a XC2C64 (64-macrocell) device. It can be implemented and demonstrated using the recently released CoolRunner-II Design Kit.

The PicoBlaze for Spartan-IIETM occupies 76 Spartan-IIE slices. Implemented in the XC2S300E FPGA, the design consumes less than 2% of the device resources, which represents approximately $0.55 in 10Ku volumes. The PicoBlaze for Virtex-II Series FPGAs reaches performance levels of up to 55 MIPS.

For the PicoBlaze user community, Xilinx has developed the PicoBlaze User Web Resource ( to provide hyperlinks to PicoBlaze applications, examples and/or tools. The new PicoBlaze Forum is another web resource where users can post questions and discussions on topics such as architecture, compiler tools, implementation, debugging and other aspects of the hardware and software flow. For more information about Xilinx Embedded Processor solutions, visit Processor Central at

PicoBlaze complements the Xilinx MicroBlazeTM 32-bit soft processor solution which has gained widespread industry acceptance for embedded processor designs using FPGAs. In just six months, the number of customers using Xilinx soft processor solutions has grown from 9,480 to 19,588. This user acceptance rate is expected to steadily increase with the added device support. In addition to Xilinx own soft processor offerings, AllianceCOREď program partners provide other processor cores such as 8051, PIC, Z80, etc.

Availability PicoBlaze reference designs supporting Virtex/Virtex-E, Spartan-II/E, Virtex-II series FPGAs, and CoolRunner-II CPLDs are now available to download free of charge at The CoolRunner-II Design Kit is now available at

The MicroBlaze soft processor is immediately available as part of the Xilinx Embedded Development Kit at, with promotional pricing at $495 until the end of 2002.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader of programmable logic solutions. Additional information about Xilinx can be found at

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