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  Home : Company Info & Press : Press Room : Press Releases : Xilinx Press Release #0333
Xilinx Press Release #0333



Propels FPGAs further into high volume applications with world's lowest cost family - priced at under $20 for 1M gates and under
$100 for 4M gates

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 14, 2003 - Marking a major milestone in the semiconductor industry, Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today announced it is shipping a new class of 90nm Spartan solutions - the Spartan-3 platform. Ranging from 50K to 5M system gates, the Spartan-3 platform is the world's lowest cost FPGA with unrivaled price points. Starting under $3.50*, the Spartan-3 family addresses customer demand for low cost solutions and significantly expands the total available market for the Spartan Series. 

"Xilinx Spartan Series FPGAs provided a cost-effective, programmable alternative to ASICs," said Richard Beckert, hardware design lead at Microsoft Corp. "We chose the Spartan series FPGA because it provided us with a time-to-market advantage, the flexibility to make last minute changes, as well as impressive product support from Xilinx."

"Xilinx Spartan FPGAs provided Xerox with a compact, high performance, and cost effective alternative to ASICs for our laser and solid ink printer lines," said Mark Bortnem, design engineer in the Office Group at Xerox Corporation. "The new Spartan-3 devices, with more I/O and gates per dollar, will help us continue to develop leading edge printers at affordable prices for our customers." To see what other Xilinx customers and partners are saying about the Spartan-3 family, visit company/success/spartan3_quotes.htm.

Using the most advanced, copper-based 90nm semiconductor process technology, Xilinx has achieved up to 80 percent chip-size reduction for Spartan-3, as compared to 130nm technology. This represents a cost savings of up to 80 percent over competitive offerings. The Spartan-3 family is priced at under $20* for a one-million-gate FPGA and under $100* for a four-million-gate FPGA. A dual manufacturing strategy with IBM and UMC has put Xilinx at the forefront of the semiconductor industry's race to 90nm and 300mm wafers.

"With today's announcement, Xilinx has completely changed the economic playing field for FPGAs, opening up a vast new market opportunity. Now, designers can afford to choose FPGAs over traditional custom devices for a broader set of cost-sensitive, high volume applications -- and get to market faster," said Wim Roelandts, CEO and president of Xilinx. "As traditional ASIC and ASSP design starts continue to decline, we expect that FPGA design starts using Spartan-3 will ultimately fuel higher growth for the overall PLD market."

Built on Foundation of Spartan Series Success
The Spartan-3 platform builds upon the proven success over four generations of Spartan Series solutions. Since its 1998 introduction, the company has shipped more than 50 million Spartan Series devices. Spartan Series products have been broadly adopted in high-volume, high-growth consumer applications - the most difficult high-volume market to penetrate and one historically dominated by ASICs. With Spartan-3, Xilinx will be able to address new applications in the "sweet spot" of mid-range ASICs, such as low cost routers, storage servers, medical and industrial imaging, and residential gateways. 

Spartan-3 - A Robust FPGA Platform With Complete Solutions
Already, Spartan-3 devices are being delivered into the hands of customers. The eight-member Spartan-3 family offers designers a robust, affordable, flexible alternative to traditional custom ASIC designs. 

  • High Density and Memory: Spartan-3 FPGAs offer an unprecedented density range for Spartan-class devices, ranging from 50K to 5M system gates. Like other Xilinx FPGAs, Spartan-3 FPGAs are unique in the industry with their combination of both embedded block and distributed RAM elements for efficient design implementation and optimum performance.

  • Up to 784 I/Os with Staggered Pad Technology: Spartan-3 devices are optimized to deliver maximum I/Os on their reduced size die through a dual ring of staggered I/O pads. An innovative approach to traditional process technology challenges, staggered pad technology results in the highest I/Os and gates per dollar, making Spartan-3 ideal for I/O and gate-limited designs.

  • Embedded XtremeDSP Functionality: Spartan-3 devices offer embedded DSP capability with unrivaled price points for high performance DSP applications with up to 330 billion multiply and accumulates (MACs) per second. With up to 104 embedded 18-bit multipliers and distributed RAM elements, designers have ultimate flexibility to optimize their designs.

  • I/O Standards: Spartan-3 devices support 23 leading parallel I/O standards, both single-ended and differential signaling, with pre-engineered, fully compliant cores including PCI 32/33 and PCI 64/33, as well as other popular parallel connectivity cores for telecommunications and networking.
Industry's Most Prevalent Design Software and Debug Tools
Xilinx offers designers the industry's fastest and most productive software tools and the most comprehensive offering of IP cores from Xilinx and third-party AllianceCORE vendors. The company's ISE (Integrated Software Environment) tools represent the industry's most prevalent design methodology with over 150,000 installed users, so customers can begin Spartan-3 designs immediately with no learning curve. The ISE tools slash traditional ASIC design and verification times by up to 50 percent and offers up to 20 percent better performance than competing solutions. The ChipScope Pro system debug tool offers unmatched real-time debug capabilities (

PCI Interface for Under $1.00
To reduce design time and speed system integration, Xilinx offers more than 200 IP cores for Spartan-3, including DSP functions and popular interface cores such as PCI. For example, a PCI 32/33 core has an effective cost as low as $0.75* when implemented in a Spartan-3 FPGA. ( 

MicroBlaze Soft Processor for Under $1.50
Customers can also use the Xilinx MicroBlaze 32-bit soft processor with the Spartan-3 devices. MicroBlaze is the lowest cost soft processor solution available with an effective cost of under $1.40*. Combined with soft peripherals and logic, it can address many traditional 16 and 32-bit microprocessor and microcontroller applications including control instrumentation, test and measurement, automotive and high-end consumer. 

Pricing and Availability 
The new Spartan-3 family consists of eight devices. First customer shipments of new Spartan XC3S50 (50K system gates for under $3.50*), and XC3S1000 (1 million system gates for under $20*) began last month. Additional family members will begin shipping in the summer of 2003. The entire Spartan-3 family will be available in volume production in early 2004 from distributors worldwide, or direct from Xilinx at

The new Spartan parts are available in a variety of packaging options (e.g. 256, 456-pin and 676 FG). Software support is available immediately with the Xilinx ISE 5.2i design software.Customers interested in learning more about the new Spartan-3 FPGA can attend Programmable World 2003.  For complete forum program and registration information, visit
Device Density I/Os
XC3S50 50K system gates 124
XC3S200 200K system gates 173
XC3S400 400K system gates 264
XC3S1000 1000K system gates 391
XC3S1500 1500K system gates 487
XC3S2000 2000K system gates 565
XC3S4000 4000K system gates 712
XC3S5000 5000K system gates 784

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

* volume pricing for 250K units, 2004


Editorial contact:
Jennifer Wright
Xilinx, Inc.
(408) 879-7727