Chipworks Looks Inside Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA 65nm Twins

Chipworks, the industry leader in reverse engineering and analysis of semiconductor chips and systems, today announced they have analyzed twin samples of the Xilinx XC5VLX50 Virtex-5 FPGA, made in a 65nm process. One twin was manufactured at Toshiba – an industry leader in 65nm technologies for digital consumer markets. The second was manufactured at UMC, another industry leader and Xilinx’s primary foundry partner for more than 10 years.

Chipworks is taking immediate orders for its Structural Analysis Reports: Xilinx/UMC (SAR-0612-801) and Xilinx/Toshiba (SAR-0612-802.) Chipworks has also started DC Transistor Characterization to compare the impact of structure on performance – critical competitive information at advanced nodes.

“Keeping ahead of the competition is as critical to Xilinx as it is to all semiconductor companies,” says Terry Ludlow, Chipworks’ founder and CEO. “The Virtex-5 demonstrates Xilinx’s use of multiple foundries to expedite 65nm device manufacturing, thus providing them with a hedge against process problems while increasing their volume production capability. In addition, the relationships with Toshiba and UMC ensure that Xilinx remains at the forefront of technology.”

Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA 65nm Twins Device Cross Section

Both devices have 12 metal layers (11 copper and one aluminum) and are fabbed from 300 mm wafers. In addition both use tensile nitride strain on NMOS transistors. However, Chipworks analyses have revealed significant differences in the metallization and dielectric structures. Other differences will be detailed and available in Chipworks reports on these devices. As these devices ramp into production it will be interesting to note if these differences have an impact on the performance, cost or power consumption of the Virtex-5.

Chipworks’ analyses provides intelligence into the structural and process elements Xilinx used to achieve performance improvements with the Virtex-5 while using less power and dropping the cost by 45% from earlier generations. Chipworks’ customers rely upon this type of information to learn from their competitors, improve their own designs and speed their time-to-market.

The Virtex-5 is a result of Xilinx understanding the full value of competitive technical intelligence. According to Kevin Morris, FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal (May 2006) “Xilinx has shown us all that they are a company that learns – learns from their successes, mistakes and competitors. All this learning has manifested itself in the technology, marketing and introduction of the Virtex-5.”

To order your copies of these detailed Structural Analysis Reports: Xilinx/UMC (SAR-0612-801) and Xilinx/Toshiba (SAR-0612-802) visit Chipworks.

About Chipworks
Chipworks is an internationally recognized technical services company that analyzes the circuitry and physical composition of semiconductors and electronic systems. Our services include a wide range of applications in patent licensing support and competitive study. For more than 14 years, Chipworks has successfully helped semiconductor and electronics organizations achieve their goals by supporting research and development efforts in strategic product development and patent portfolio management. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, the Company has offices around the world.