company_name = Xilinx
company_type = Public (nasdaq|XLNX)|
homepage = [http://www.xilinx.com/ www.xilinx.com]
foundation = 1984, public since 1990
key_people = Moshe Gavrielov, Wim Roelandts
location = San Jose, CA
industry = Integrated Circuits
products = FPGAs, CPLDs
revenue = $1.842 billion (2007)|
profit = $354 million (2007)
num_employees = 3,353

Xilinx, Inc. (nasdaq|XLNX) is the world's largest developer and fabless manufacturer of a class of reconfigurable hardware chips known as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). It was founded by Ross Freeman (FPGA inventor), Bernie Vonderschmitt (fabless pioneer), and Jim Barnett in 1984 and was based in Silicon Valley. Today, their HQ resides in San Jose, California (U.S.); the European HQ is based in Dublin (Ireland) and the Asia Pacific/Japan HQ is based in Singapore. It also has offices in Austin, Texas; Longmont, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA); Toronto (Canada); Bangalore and Hyderabad (India); and Penicuik, (Scotland).

Xilinx in Fortune - 100 Best Companies to Work For

Xilinx joined the Fortune ranks of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2001 as number 14, rose to number six in 2002 and to fourth place in 2003. At fourth place, Xilinx became the top publicly traded company on the list (the first three were private companies), the top high-tech company and the highest ranked company in the Western states


Xilinx is a developer of FPGA and CPLD devices that are used in numerous applications within telecommunications, automotive, consumer, defense, and other fields. Xilinx offers device families for glue logic (CoolRunner, CoolRunner II), low-cost (Spartan), and high-end (Virtex) applications in addition to supporting devices such as PROMs.

The Virtex-II Pro, Virtex-4, and Virtex-5 FPGA families are of particular interest to system-on-a-chip (SoC) designers because they can include up to two embedded IBM PowerPC cores. [ [http://direct.xilinx.com/bvdocs/publications/ds083.pdf Virtex-II Pro datasheet] ] [ [http://direct.xilinx.com/bvdocs/publications/ds112.pdf Virtex-4 family overview] ] These designs are capable of running a regular embedded OS (such as Linux or vxWorks) and interfacing with custom logic implemented in the surrounding fabric.

Xilinx develops IP cores, intended to reduce application design time. These cores range from simple functions (such as BCD encoders, counters, etc.) to complex systems (such as multi-gigabit networking cores, the Microblaze soft microprocessor, and the compact Picoblaze microcontroller). In addition, Xilinx Design Services (XDS) can create custom cores for a fee.

Xilinx offers electronic design automation (EDA) tools for use with its devices. Its central product family is ISE, which offers a complete EDA flow: synthesis from Verilog or VHDL, place-and-route (PAR), and creation of the bit files that are used to configure the chip. Xilinx's Embedded Developer's Kit (EDK) supports the embedded PowerPC 405 core (found in the Virtex-II Pro and some Virtex-4 and -5 chips), and the Microblaze. Xilinx's System Generator for DSP simulates and implements high-performance DSP designs on Xilinx's FPGAs. A freeware version of their EDA software called 'ISE Webpack' is available for use with some of their non high performance chips. They are the only (as of 2007) FPGA vendor to distribute a native Linux freeware synthesis toolchain.

Current Family Lines

Xilinx has two main FPGA families: the high performance Virtex series and the low cost Spartan series, with a new product line called EasyPath complementing the mass productions of customer ASIC-like Virtex designs. They also manufacture two CPLD lines, the CoolRunner and the 9500 series. Each model series has been released in multiple generations since their launch.

Spartan series

The Spartan series are low cost parts, roughly parallel to the Virtex 2 series.They are slower than the corresponding Virtex parts, andneither embedded PowerPC cores nor SerDes hardware are available.

The Virtex-5 series was introduced in 2006. With it, Xilinx moved from their traditional 4-input LUT design to 6-input LUTs. It is a 65nm design fabricated in 1.0V, triple-oxide process technology.

Older generation devices, such as the Virtex, Virtex-II, and Virtex-II Pro, are also still available, although their functionality is largely superseded by the Virtex-4 and -5.

EasyPath series

The [http://www.xilinx.com/products/silicon_solutions/fpgas/easypath/index.htm EasyPath] series of FPGAs offer the same functionalities of Virtex FPGAs with a significantly lower unit cost by producing in higher volumes for customer-provided Virtex FPGA designs. The EasyPath FPGAs were tested against potentially defective Virtex FPGA devices with the customer-provided Virtex FPGA design. A 12-week time is guaranteed from receiving the design to mass production, and no re-design or re-qualification are required by the customer. In addition, customers are free to return from the non-programmable EasyPath FPGA production to original programmable Virtex FPGA production if the need of design chances arises. This is because EasyPath FPGAs offer the same capibilities and same silicons of Virtex FPGAs. Currently, all Virtex 5, Virtex 4, Virtex-II, and Virtex-II Pro families are supported.


Competitors to Xilinx include Altera, Lattice Semiconductor, Actel and QuickLogic.

Origin of company name

Having tried to register a number of company names which were more conventional and had them rejected because they were already taken, the founders decided to deliberately create an unusual name in order to ensure the name was accepted. Xilinx founder Bill Carter says that the name Xilinx was chosen because "The 'X's' at each end represent programmable logic blocks. The "linx" represents programmable links that connect the logic blocks together". [ [http://www.xilinx.com/company/history.htm Xilinx: Our History] ]


External links

* [http://www.xilinx.com Corporate website]
* [http://www.xilinx.com/company/history.htm Xilinx history]

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