Home > Xilinx, Inc unveils Spartan-3A family of I/O-optimised field programmable gate arrays

Xilinx, Inc unveils Spartan-3A family of I/O-optimised field programmable gate arrays

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Xilinx, Inc., a leading supplier of programmable solutions, unveiled its Spartan-3A family of I/O-optimised field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), an extension of its low-cost, high volume Spartan-3 Generation. The Spartan-3A platform provides a cost-reduced solution for applications, where I/O count and capabilities matter more than logic density. With support for the industry’s wide range of I/O standards (26) and unique power, configuration capabilities and anti-cloning security advantages, Spartan-3A FPGAs provide a flexible and cost-saving solution to new high-volume applications within consumer and industrial segments, such as display panel interfaces, video/tuner board interfaces and video switching.

According to Samsung Electronics, the cost and time-to-market advantages of Xilinx Spartan FPGAs have allowed it to meet demanding product development objectives and they look forward to integrating the Spartan-3A platform in future product generations, as they offer all the benefits of programmability with silicon optimised for specific I/O requirements.

Expanding the Edge

Xilinx market diversification success in targeting high-volume markets is based largely on the flexibility and cost advantages of its Spartan Series, which has grown from zero to 26 percent of total company revenue, since its 1998 introduction with a record-setting 200 million cumulative units shipped to date.

With the addition of an I/O-optimised platform, the Spartan-3 Generation expands the billion-dollar global market for low-cost FPGAs targeting volume applications on the edge of the network in the home, in the car and on the factory floor. Consumer and wireless products such as flat panel displays, wireless networks, residential gateways, and IP set top boxes represent a $280 million PLD market opportunity in Asia Pacific, a region in which the Spartan-3 Generation has recorded an annualised growth rate of 275 percent through the most recent (Q2FY07) quarter. Video security and robotic products are among the applications fueling demand in industrial sectors, particularly in Europe.

By applying the domain-optimised strategy first introduced with its Virtex-4 FPGAs to the Spartan family, Xilinx can penetrate into new application areas with an offering that can adapt to the dynamics of high-volume markets.

Spartan-3A Platform Features

Built on 90nm technology, the new platform consists of five devices offering up to 1.4 million system gates and 502 I/Os. Offering the low cost per I/O in the industry, the new family also features significant advances in power management, device configuration and design security. The Spartan-3A platform integrates an impressive array of innovative features and technologies including:

Widest I/O Standards Support: First TMDS-compliant FPGAs enabling DVI and HDMI support for consumer video applications, and the only FPGAs compliant to 26 popular single-ended and differential signaling standards. Source-synchronous interfacing technology cost-optimised to ensure good design margins. Pre-engineered solutions for PCI, PCI Express, USB, Firewire, CAN and SPI among others, as well as support for all popular low-cost DDR and DDR2 memory interfaces up to 333 Mbps.

Only dual-power management solution: Suspend mode with over 40 percent static power reduction, fast wake-up time of less than 100 microseconds and system-level synchronisation across time domains. Hibernate mode provides up to 99 percent reduction in static power and wake-up time of less than 100 milliseconds.

Comprehensive configuration capabilities: Source-synchronous interfacing technology cost-optimized to ensure best design margins. Enhanced multi-boot capability with integrated watchdog supervision for guaranteed golden configuration.

Robust anti-cloning security feature: The Spartan-3A devices are the industry’s first FPGAs to offer a unique DeviceDNA serial number. This permanent ID code safeguards hardware and software IP, providing designers with the flexibility to implement custom algorithms that enable authentication, deter cloning, and control IP activation.


Customers can immediately begin designing systems with Spartan-3A FPGAs using the ISE design tool suite, Spartan-3 Generation library of application-specific IP, and new Spartan-3A Starter Kit. Engineering samples are shipping now for the XC3S700A and XC3S1400A devices with the XC3S50A, XC3S200A and XC3S400A devices to follow in the first quarter of 2007.

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