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AR# 15453

5.1i ISE - Maintaining and migrating XC4000E/XL/XLA and Spartan/-XL designs (XC4000 support)


This Answer Record provides questions and answers regarding XC4000E\XL\XLA and Spartan\-XL design support.


Q: Does ISE 5.1i support XC4000E/XL/XLA and Spartan/-XL device architectures?

A: No, it does not. For a list of devices supported in the ISE 5.1i design tools, please see (Xilinx Answer 15452).

Q: Are future releases for the ISE tools planned for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices?

A: The software environment was frozen at the 4.2i Service Pack 3 release. Critical bugs that do not have a work-around might be fixed; however, this is unlikely because of the maturity of the design tools.

Q: What is the last software version that supports XC4000E\XL\XLA and Spartan\-XL device architectures?

A: ISE 4.2i with Service Pack 3 and Foundation 4.2i.

Q: Why does the ISE 5.1i release not include XC4000 and Spartan/-XL device support?

A: Three reasons:

- Over the years, the software for XC4000, Spartan, and Spartan-XL devices has become very stable and relatively bug-free.

- To avoid the possibility of destabilization as we add infrastructure changes to Virtex, Spartan-II, and future families.

- To avoid the engineering costs associated with updating and testing older device support in an integrated environment and new operating systems.

Q: Does the 5.1i CORE Generator support XC4000E/XL/XLA and Spartan/-XL device architectures?

A: No, the 5.1i CORE Generator maintains the same device support as ISE 5.1i.

Q: Do the ISE tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices include all ISE 5.1i new features?

A: Xilinx support for XC4000, Spartan, and Spartan-XL devices was frozen with the 4.2i software release. None of the new features in the ISE 5.1i software are included in this separate ISE configuration.

Q: How can I obtain a copy of ISE 4.2i Service Pack 3?

A: Service Pack 3 for ISE 4.2i is available for download at:


Free ISE Classics software (ISE 4.2i Service Pack 3 tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices) is also available for download from:


Q: When will the ISE tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices be available for download from the Web?

A: ISE Classics software is available now at:


Q: Do the ISE tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices require a soft key?

A: The ISE 4.2.03i tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices are available for download on the Xilinx Web site. Please register online so that Xilinx can provide product information and updates. (This is the same process used for the ISE WebPACK Web download.)

Q:Are the ISE tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices available to anyone?

A:New customers are directed to the Xilinx Web site download area, where they can register and download the software at no charge.

Q: Are CDs available for the ISE tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices?

A: No, CDs for the ISE 4.2.03i tools were not produced. For lower bandwidth Web-based customers, ISE 4.2i CDs will remain available for quite some time after the release of ISE 5.1i.

Q: How can I obtain a copy of the Foundation 4.2i software?

A: Foundation 4.2i is no longer available for purchase due to the expiration of the OEM license contract between Xilinx and Aldec. For maintenance of a previously purchased Foundation tool set, please contact Xilinx Customer Support at:


Q: Are the XC4000E\XL\XLA and Spartan\-XL device architectures being discontinued?

A: As a device or device family declines in customer usage to the point where continued manufacturing is no longer economical, Xilinx might issue a Product Discontinuation Notice (PDN). Xilinx offers one of the industry's most generous product discontinuation cycles (typically two years) from notification to final orders. To be added to the PDN distribution list, please see (Xilinx Answer 8192). A list of all PDNs from 1995 to the present is available at:


Q: Can the ISE 5.1i software be used to upgrade an XC4000E\XL\XLA or Spartan\-XL design to a newer device?

A: Yes, if an XC4000E\XL\XLA or Spartan\-XL ISE design project is opened in ISE 5.1i, you will receive a message stating that the device is not supported and that continuing will automatically update the project to a default supported device. You are presented with an option to continue, and with an option to archive the project before updating.

Q: Should CORE Generator macros created for an XC4000 and Spartan/-XL project be updated and re-targeted to a different device architecture if the project is converted to ISE 5.1i format and, consequently, re-targeted to a different device architecture?

A: Yes, each macro core is generated with device-specific features. If the macro core is not updated, a less-than-optimal implementation might occur or an error might be reported in NGDBuild or MAP indicating incompatible logic or placement.

Q: Can the ISE 4.2i Service Pack 3 and ISE 5.1i software be installed on the same computer?

A: Yes, this is possible; however, you should be aware of certain specific information before attempting this. For details, please see (Xilinx Answer 8915).

Q: Does Xilinx provide synthesis tools for XC4000 and Spartan/-XL devices?

A: Synthesis tools are not included within ISE for these devices. Synthesis tools from several of our EDA partners, including LeonardoSpectrum (Mentor Graphics), Synplify and Synplify Pro (Synplicity), and FPGA Compiler II (Synopsys), support the XC4000 and Spartan/-XL families and can be purchased directly from these partners.
AR# 15453
Date Created 09/03/2007
Last Updated 10/04/2011
Status Archive
Type General Article