Xilinx Optimizes Integrated Software Environment 6.3i for Virtex-4 FPGAs

9/17/2004 - Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) announced immediate worldwide shipments of the 6.3i release of its Integrated Software Environment (ISE), optimized for the Xilinx Virtex-4 family of Platform FPGAs. The new ISE 6.3i solution takes full advantage of the Virtex-4 architecture to support up to 200,000 logic cells and 500 MHz performance for twice the density and up to 10 times better performance-price ratio than previous generation FPGAs. This combination of ISE 6.3i and Virtex-4 FPGAs makes programmable systems design easier than ever across multiple domains, including high performance logic, embedded processing, high performance digital signal processing and high-speed connectivity.

The ISE 6.3i release also extends Xilinx leadership in proactive timing closure and integration, while reducing overall design costs for high-volume FPGA and CPLD applications. New easy-to-use, innovative implementation options and third-party electronic design automation (EDA) tool support are delivered with up to 40 percent faster FPGA fabric performance than the nearest competing offering. ISE 6.3i is also the most accessible design solution ever offered by Xilinx with new availability for the Linux Red Hat Enterprise 3.0 operating system.

"Designing at the performance levels and device densities that we deliver in our Virtex-4 family demands a fast-compiling, tightly-integrated tools suite. Once again, Xilinx executes on this expectation with ISE 6.3i, setting a new industry standard for quality of results and productivity," said Rich Sevcik, executive vice president, Programmable Logic Solutions Group at Xilinx. "ISE delivers new technology that enables designers to maximize the potential of our Platform FPGA architectures and fully realize their advantages over less-innovative ASIC approaches."

Next-Generation Virtex-4 FPGA Design
ISE 6.3i includes a variety of enhancements aimed at increasing productivity and supporting the 100+ new device features available with Virtex-4 Platform FPGAs, as detailed in a related announcement. Virtex-4 design support has been available to Xilinx customers participating in the Virtex-4 early access program since February of this year.

ISE architecture wizards enable rapid configuration of high-performance Virtex-4 silicon features, including the new ChipSync Wizard for fast and accurate source synchronous interface design, and the XtremeDSP Slice Wizard driving the new Virtex-4 XtremeDSP. The Rocket IO Wizard eases serial I/O design up to 11.1 Gbps, and the Clocking Wizard functionality supports advanced internal FPGA clock configuration for all Virtex-4, Virtex-II Pro and Spartan-3 family devices.

PACE (ISE pin and area constraints editor) support for Virtex-4 delivers advanced pin management and logic area floorplanning in a fast and easy-to-use graphical interface. PACE includes critical engineering rule checks for Simultaneous Switching Outputs to help identify potential ground bounce problems.

The Xilinx Synthesis Tool (XST) delivers improved performance and better utilization over previous releases, in addition to support for the new Virtex-4 device features.

The PlanAhead Hierarchical Floorplanner (recently acquired with Hier Design) offers a new integrated option for high-density FPGA design, supporting the new Virtex-4 devices in addition to Virtex-II Pro and Spartan-3 FPGAs. PlanAhead enables resolution of density challenges and high-performance timing closure, as well as design reuse and IP optimization earlier in the design cycle and at higher levels of abstraction in order to achieve overall better performance and faster design completion.

The optional ChipScope Pro 6.3i real-time hardware debugger now supports Linux Red Hat Enterprise 3.0, offers a 60-day evaluation version, and includes new storage qualification for more efficient use of trace debug memory. We have seen a continual improvement in our FPGA designs with the use of ISE 6 design tools from Xilinx," commented Antonio Borrego, FPGA design engineer at StorageTek. "ISE 6 has not only shortened the time required for us to synthesize and implement our designs, but also makes very efficient use of internal device features, and allows for easy portability of projects between our various working groups."

Low-cost Design Platform
ISE 6.3i continues to deliver the industry's fastest push-button performance on the lowest-cost FPGA platforms. The built-in "timing-driven mapping" feature merges the placement and mapping phases to automatically achieve up to 30 percent better performance on highly utilized designs as compared to designs not leveraging this capability, making it possible to put more logic into a smaller device without sacrificing timing goals. The ISE PACE pin-assignment and constraints editor also supports local clocking for Spartan-3 designs, making off-chip memory interface design quicker, easier and with fewer design iterations. These new features enhance the lower density, lower cost advantages of Spartan-3 devices as ASIC replacements.

In addition, the ISE WebPACK 6.3i solution offers fast, convenient access to a subset of the ISE Foundation design tools for various FPGA and CPLD devices. It is a complete development environment that meets design demands ranging from simple glue logic to medium-density "system-on-chip" FPGA platforms with unmatched productivity and performance. The ISE WebPACK provides easy download and installation to more than 150,000 users worldwide.

Platform, Pricing and Availability
ISE 6.3i supports all leading-edge Xilinx product families including the three platforms of the Virtex-4 FPGAs, Spartan-3 Series FPGAs, and CoolRunner-II CPLDs. All versions of ISE software packages support Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The ISE Foundation, ISE Alliance, and ISE BaseX configurations also support Linux Red Hat Enterprise 3.0 (with limited support for Linux Red Hat 8.0 and 9.0). ISE Foundation and ISE Alliance also support Solaris 2.8 and 2.9.

All ISE 6.3i configurations are immediately available with prices ranging from $695 to $2495 U.S. list. The free, downloadable ISE WebPACK 6.3i solution (www.xilinx.com/ise/webpack) is also available and ideally suited for the Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA and Cool Runner CPLD products.

New customers can access the ISE Evaluation package at www.xilinx.com/ise_eval for a 60-day version of ISE Foundation at no charge. A free 60-day evaluation version of the ChipScope Pro 6.3i hardware debugger for Windows, Solaris and Linux is also available at www.xilinx.com/chipscope.

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

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