World's First 90nm Programmable Chips Made by Xilinx

4/1/2003 - Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX), the industry leader in programmable logic solutions, reported that the company is shipping the world's first 90 nanometer (nm) programmable chips. By fully exploiting the industry's most advanced chip making process technology at 90nm, Xilinx has reached unprecedented field programmable gate array (FPGA) price performance levels.

A dual fabrication partnership strategy with IBM (NYSE:IBM) and UMC (NYSE:UMC) has put Xilinx at the forefront of the semiconductor industry's race to 90nm. Functional chips have been produced at both IBM and UMC. Because 90nm* device geometries enable more transistors in a smaller area, Xilinx has reduced die size with this new generation of FPGAs by up to 80 percent, compared to competing 130nm programmable logic solutions. In turn, the company will be able to drive pricing down to below $25** for a one-million-gate FPGA (approximately 17,000 logic cells), which represents a 35 to 70 percent savings compared to any competitive offering.

In today's market environment, Xilinx considers a dual fabrication strategy a an absolute necessary key element for success as a fabless semiconductor company. It allows Xilinx to be a leader in developing products on the latest semiconductor manufacturing processes, provides multiple sources for products regardless of world conditions, and provides Xilinx with the fabrication capacity it needs to meet customer demand.

“Together with UMC and IBM, Xilinx has made a significant investment in driving the most advanced 90nm chip-making processes and 300mm*** wafer technology to reduce FPGA costs for our customers, while drastically increasing device densities and functionality,” said Wim Roelandts, Xilinx president and CEO. “Our unwavering commitment to develop leading edge semiconductor manufacturing processes has been a key component of the company's success as the market industry leader in programmable logic for many years. Today's 90nm news is another major step for Xilinx in delivering the time-to-market benefits of programmable logic ‘to the masses’ and expanding into new applications.”

“We’re very excited about our progress working with Xilinx for 90nm production,” added Fu Tai Liou, president of the America Business Group at UMC. “These accomplishments put UMC and Xilinx firmly at the forefront of IC manufacturing technology, and underscore the long history of our successful partnership. With the successful transition to 90nm, our partnership continues to demonstrate the tremendous synergies that are possible through close cooperation between a fabless industry leader and a foundry technology leader. Once again, UMC and Xilinx have set the benchmark for fabless/foundry cooperation.”

Added Michael Concannon, vice president of foundry services, IBM Microelectronics Division, "Our deep collaboration with Xilinx is designed to help them provide added value to their customers through the use of IBM's advanced technologies. As evidenced by this shipment of the world's first 90nm programmable logic devices, that collaborative model is working. We look forward to driving further advances with Xilinx as our relationship continues to expand."

Investment in Advanced Manufacturing Processes
Xilinx, a pioneer in establishing the fabless semiconductor model more than 18 years ago, has established an impressive track record of industry firsts with its partners in driving advanced chip-making process technology – including first to 90nm in 2003, 130nm in 2002, 150nm in 2001, 0.18 microns in 1999 and 0.25 microns in 1998. Currently, the company is also the highest volume purchaser of processed 300mm (12 inch) wafers in the world.

Dual Fabrication Strategy Pays Off
Xilinx has a long history of successful semiconductor manufacturing partnerships - a cornerstone of the company's business strategy and PLD market leadership. For nearly a decade, Xilinx has collaborated with UMC as its primary manufacturing partner for high-volume production of the Xilinx programmable chips. Over the past several years, UMC and Xilinx have aligned to target a number of programmable devices to UMC's deep submicron processes.

In March 2002, Xilinx commenced a manufacturing collaboration with IBM, marking the first time IBM manufactured parts for a foundry customer in volume using its most advanced processes, which are normally used in high-end microprocessors, custom chips and memory products. A collaborative design effort between the two companies resulted in the integration of IBM’s PowerPC microprocessor with Xilinx field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology to form a new type of hybrid chip family, the Virtex-II Pro, for use in communications, storage, and consumer applications.

In June 2002, the companies announced a second technology agreement under which IBM is licensing FPGA technology from Xilinx for integration into IBM's Cu-08 application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) product offering.

About Xilinx
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) is the worldwide leader in programmable logic solutions. Additional information about Xilinx is available at

* 90nm measures the space between the lines of circuitry on a chip and is less than 1/1,000th the width of a human hair.
** Pricing in quantities of 250,000 in volume production in 2004.
***3 00mm wafers describe the diameter of the silicon disk used to produce chips. The larger the surface, the more chips that can be produced per wafer.)

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