Xilinx Gives Embedded Systems Designers Advantage with FPGA Processor

5/20/2004 - Xilinx, Inc., (NASDAQ: XLNX) continues its FPGA performance lead in real design applications with the announcement of independent third-party test results for the 32-bit MicroBlaze processor platform running Accelerated Technology's Nucleus real-time operating system (RTOS). The Accelerated Technology (AT) tests reaffirm the order of magnitude performance advantage and complete development environment supported by Xilinx's spectrum of embedded processor solutions.

"The combination of our familiar soft and hard RISC processor cores, coupled with industry standard tools such as the Nucleus RTOS, has demonstrated a significant performance advantage with our solutions," said Rich Sevcik, executive vice president at Xilinx "The range of our processor solutions and support is a testament to our commitment to the vast array of real applications in the embedded processing arena, and enables customers to select the optimum performance and price points for their embedded processing needs."

Third Party Real-Time Results
The Xilinx processor solution consistently delivered high performance with the AT RTOS suite of tests (results available upon request through AT). Two of the key evaluation metrics of processor RTOS performance are interrupt latency and context switch times.

The latest results from the Nucleus real-time OS environment operating on a conservative 100Mhz MicroBlaze Virtex-II Pro™ FPGA system delivered an interrupt latency result that is orders of magnitude improved over competitive soft processor offerings. The benefit of this fast interrupt response is accelerated system speed for servicing a requested event. In addition, the MicroBlaze platform's performance for context switching operations allows faster access to routines or tasks waiting to be serviced.

"The recent Xilinx processor results compared quite favorably to any embedded processor offering that we have tested with the Nucleus RTOS test suite," said Robert Day, director of marketing at Accelerated Technology, Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics. "These numbers are impressive for not only embedded FPGA-based processor solutions, but any commercial embedded processor solution."

Xilinx Processing Commitment
In the 32-bit processor arena, one architecture does not fit all. The choice of processor architecture is driven by performance, feature, cost and software requirements of the system design. Processor technology roadmaps that ensure backward compatibility are also a key factor in processor selection.

For feature rich and flexible requirements, the MicroBlaze soft core is a standard, powerful 32-bit RISC processor optimized for Xilinx FPGA devices. Base designs using a traditional single processor approach deliver over 125 Dhrystone MIPS (DMIPS) at 150 MHz in the Virtex-II Pro FPGA or 68 DMIPS at 85 MHz in the cost effective Spartan-3 FPGA.

For even higher performance requirements, the immersed 32-bit PowerPC core in the Virtex-II family of platform FPGAs delivers over five times the DMIPS performance of competitive soft processor cores. Operating at 450MHz, the 32-bit PowerPC core delivers over 680 DMIPS with the Virtex-II Pro FPGA. The overall performance comes with minimal cost as processor integration in Virtex-II FPGAs simplifies design and consumes very little silicon area. An efficient design uses less than two percent of a Xilinx 2VP50 device for example.

Complete Development Environment
Xilinx's Platform Studio provides a common fully integrated hardware/software development environment that supports the complete range of Xilinx's processor solutions. Included in the Xilinx Embedded Development Kit (EDK), the scalable Platform Studio enables designers to easily develop, integrate and debug their entire embedded system.

In addition, Xilinx provides an extensive peripheral library (over two hundred intellectual property cores), reference designs, development boards, internal and third party provided tools, and the most widely used operating systems. A variety of embedded design services, training and support are also available from Xilinx to further ensure first-time design success with its processing solutions.

The Nucleus PLUS RTOS provides an extensive set of real-time services including task control, task communication, task synchronization, memory management, and programmable timers that has been proven in thousands of applications worldwide. For more information on AT and the complete family of Nucleus products, visit http://www.acceleratedtechnology.com.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit www.xilinx.com.

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