Virtex-5 Study Provides Insights into Xilinx Dual-Foundry Strategy

Xilinx, Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) announced that Semiconductor Insights (ON, Canada) has completed an in-depth technical study of samples of the Xilinx 65-nm XC5VLX50 Virtex(TM)-5 FPGA, manufactured by foundry partners Toshiba and UMC. Based upon structural analyses, Semiconductor Insights has concluded that 65-nm devices manufactured by either foundry meet high-performance Virtex-5 specifications.

An executive summary of the Semiconductor Insights study is published by the CMP Technology Electronics Group’s EE Times and TechOnline this week as part of a print and online “Under the Hood” editorial program. The Virtex-5 device from Xilinx was among four leading-edge 65-nm devices analyzed by Semiconductor Insights, including AMD (Athlon), Intel (Presler) and Texas Instruments (baseband processor).

Introduced in May 2006, the Virtex-5 product family brings the performance, power and cost benefits of the leading-edge 65-nm process node to system developers 12 months in advance of competing solutions. Today, Xilinx is shipping three of four platforms — Virtex-5 LX, Virtex-5 LXT, Virtex-5 SXT — with Virtex-5 FXT shipments on track for the second half of 2007. Semiconductor Insights reports provide a detailed look at the structural and process elements Xilinx used to achieve these performance improvements in the Virtex-5, while dropping the cost by 45 percent from earlier generations.

“With Virtex-5, Xilinx is at the forefront of the race to advanced manufacturing processes, alongside the world’s premier chip manufacturers,” said Semiconductor Insights Chief Technology Officer Edward Keyes. “The company’s dual-foundry model is working — while the foundry processes from Toshiba and UMC are different, they each design to an electrical common model, resulting in products with virtually identical performance. Both foundries ramped at the same time and were in production virtually simultaneously, aided by dedicated Xilinx teams at both facilities.”

Virtex-5 devices manufactured by UMC and Toshiba have 12 metal layers (11 copper and one aluminum) and are fabricated from 300 mm wafers. Characteristic of advanced 65-nm processes, both use nickel silicide self-aligned technology, low-k dielectrics (although different materials), and wafer rotation plus nitride strain to enhance transistor performance. In addition, Xilinx has continued its use of triple oxide technology.

“This advanced processing results in a 30 percent increase in speed and a 35 percent reduction in power compared with the earlier Virtex-4 technology,” explained Michael Hart, senior director of semiconductor technology development at Xilinx.

About Semiconductor Insights
Semiconductor Insights (SI) is the leading technical advisor to the world’s microelectronics community. SI supports its clients in asserting their intellectual property (IP) rights and developing and commercializing new technologies and products, through in-depth technical investigation of integrated circuits and electronic systems. Typical clients are major electronics and semiconductor corporations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe, and North America and their representing law firms. SI has participated in virtually every major semiconductor licensing campaign since the company’s inception in 1989 and clients include such hallmarks as Infineon, Intel, TSMC, and Texas Instruments.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions.