Xilinx, Inc. (/ˈzaɪlɪŋks/ ZY-links) is an American technology company and is primarily a supplier of programmable logic devices. It is known for inventing the field-programmable gate array (FPGA
) and as the semiconductor company that created the first fabless manufacturing model.
As demand for programmable logic continued to grow, so did Xilinx's revenues and profits.
From 1988 to 1990, the company's revenue grew each year, from $30 million to $50 million to $100 million. During this time, the company which had been providing funding to Xilinx, Monolithic Memories Inc. (MMI), was purchased by Xilinx competitor AMD. As a result, Xilinx dissolved the deal with MMI and went public on the NASDAQ in 1989. The company also moved to a 144,000-square-foot (13,400 m2) plant in San Jose, California in order to keep pace with demand from companies like HP, Apple Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems who were buying large quantities from Xilinx.
Other FPGA makers emerged in the mid-1990s. Still, Xilinx's sales grew to $135 million in 1991, $178 million in 1992 and $250 million in 1993.
The company reached $550 million in revenue in 1995, one decade after having sold its first product.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Xilinx has held the lead in programmable logic device market share since the late 1990s. Over the years, Xilinx expanded operations to India, Asia and Europe.
Xilinx's sales rose from $560 million in 1996 to $2.53 billion by the end of its fiscal year 2018. Moshe Gavrielov – an EDA and ASIC industry veteran who was appointed president and CEO in early 2008 – introduced targeted design platforms that combine FPGAs with software, IP cores, boards and kits to address focused target applications. These targeted design platforms are an alternative to costly application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs).
On January 4, 2018, Victor Peng, company's COO, replaced Gavrielov as CEO
Xilinx was founded in Silicon Valley in 1984 and headquartered in San Jose, USA, with additional offices in Longmont, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Hyderabad, India; Beijing, China; Shanghai, China; Brisbane, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.
According to Bill Carter, a fellow at Xilinx, the choice of the name Xilinx refers to the chemical symbol for silicon Si. The 'X's at each end represent programmable logic blocks. The "linx" represents programmable links that connect the logic blocks together.
Xilinx customers represent just over half of the entire programmable logic market, at 51%. Altera
) is Xilinx's strongest competitor with 34% of the market. Other key players in this market are Actel (now Microsemi), and Lattice Semiconductor.
The Spartan-3 platform was the industry’s first 90nm FPGA, delivering more functionality and bandwidth per dollar than was previously possible, setting new standards in the programmable logic industry.
Xilinx designs, develops and markets programmable logic products, including integrated circuits (ICs), software design tools, predefined system functions delivered as intellectual property (IP) cores, design services, customer training, field engineering and technical support. Xilinx sells both FPGAs and CPLDs for electronic equipment manufacturers in end markets such as communications, industrial, consumer, automotive and data processing.
Xilinx's FPGAs have been used for the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) at the CERN European laboratory on the French-Swiss border to map and disentangle the trajectories of thousands of subatomic particles. Xilinx has also engaged in a partnership with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate to develop FPGAs to withstand the damaging effects of radiation in space, which are 1,000 times less sensitive to space radiation than the commercial equivalent, for deployment in new satellites.
The Virtex-II Pro, Virtex-4, Virtex-5, and Virtex-6 FPGA families, which include up to two embedded IBM PowerPC cores, are targeted to the needs of system-on-chip (SoC) designers.
Xilinx FPGAs can run a regular embedded OS (such as Linux or vxWorks) and can implement processor peripherals in programmable logic.
Xilinx's IP cores include IP for simple functions (BCD encoders, counters, etc.), for domain specific cores (digital signal processing, FFT and FIR cores) to complex systems (multi-gigabit networking cores, the MicroBlaze soft microprocessor and the compact Picoblaze microcontroller). Xilinx also creates custom cores for a fee.
The main design toolkit Xilinx provides engineers is the Vivado Design Suite, an integrated design environment (IDE) with a system-to-IC level tools built on a shared scalable data model and a common debug environment. Vivado includes electronic system level (ESL) design tools for synthesizing and verifying C-based algorithmic IP; standards based packaging of both algorithmic and RTL IP for reuse; standards based IP stitching and systems integration of all types of system building blocks; and the verification of blocks and systems. A free version WebPACK Edition of Vivado provides designers with a limited version of the design environment.
Xilinx's Embedded Developer's Kit (EDK) supports the embedded PowerPC 405 and 440 cores (in Virtex-II Pro and some Virtex-4 and -5 chips) and the Microblaze core. Xilinx's System Generator for DSP implements DSP designs on Xilinx FPGAs. A freeware version of its EDA software called ISE WebPACK is used with some of its non-high-performance chips. Xilinx is the only (as of 2007) FPGA vendor to distribute a native Linux freeware synthesis toolchain.
Xilinx announced the architecture for a new ARM Cortex-A9-based platform for embedded systems designers, that combines the software programmability of an embedded processor with the hardware flexibility of an FPGA. The new architecture abstracts much of the hardware burden away from the embedded software developers' point of view, giving them an unprecedented level of control in the development process. With this platform, software developers can leverage their existing system code based on ARM technology and utilize vast off-the-shelf open-source and commercially available software component libraries. Because the system boots an OS at reset, software development can get under way quickly within familiar development and debug environments using tools such as ARM's RealView development suite and related third-party tools, Eclipse-based IDEs, GNU, the Xilinx Software Development Kit and others.In early 2011, Xilinx began shipping a new device family based on this architecture. The Zynq-7000 SoC platform immerses ARM multi-cores, programmable logic fabric, DSP data paths, memories and I/O functions in a dense and configurable mesh of interconnect. The platform targets embedded designers working on market applications that require multi-functionality and real-time responsiveness, such as automotive driver assistance, intelligent video surveillance, industrial automation, aerospace and defense, and next-generation wireless.
Following the introduction of its 28 nm 7-series FPGAs, Xilinx revealed that several of the highest-density parts in those FPGA product lines will be constructed using multiple dies in one package, employing technology developed for 3D construction and stacked-die assemblies. The company’s stacked silicon interconnect (SSI) technology stacks several (three or four) active FPGA dies side-by-side on a silicon interposer – a single piece of silicon that carries passive interconnect. The individual FPGA dies are conventional, and are flip-chip mounted by microbumps on to the interposer. The interposer provides direct interconnect between the FPGA dies, with no need for transceiver technologies such as high-speed SERDES. In October 2011, Xilinx shipped the first FPGA to use the new technology, the Virtex-7 2000T FPGA, which includes 6.8 billion transistors and 20 million ASIC gates. The following spring, Xilinx used 3D technology to ship the Virtex-7 HT, the industry’s first heterogeneous FPGAs, which combine high bandwidth FPGAs with a maximum of sixteen 28 Gbit/s and seventy-two 13.1 Gbit/s transceivers to reduce power
and size requirements for key Nx100G and 400G line card applications and functions.
In January 2011, Xilinx acquired design tool firm AutoESL Design Technologies and added System C high-level design for its 6- and 7-series FPGA families.The addition of AutoESL tools extends the design community for FPGAs to designers more accustomed to designing at a higher level of abstraction using C, C++ and System C.
In April 2012, Xilinx introduced a revised version of its toolset for programmable systems, called Vivado Design Suite. This IP and system-centric design software supports newer high capacity devices, and speeds the design of programmable logic and I/O. Vivado provides faster integration and implementation for programmable systems into devices with 3D stacked silicon interconnect technology, ARM processing systems, analog mixed signal (AMS), and many semiconductor intellectual property (IP) cores.
Xilinx began his journey with the Reconfigurable Acceleration Stack technology in the late 2016. The company was providing software and IP blocks to accelerate Machine Learning and other datacenter apps. Xilinx's goal was to reduce the barriers to adoption of FPGAs for accelerated compute-intensive datacenter workloads.
Family lines of products
CPLD Xilinx XC9536XL
Prior to 2010, Xilinx offered two main FPGA families: the high-performance Virtex series and the high-volume Spartan series, with a cheaper EasyPath option for ramping to volume production. The company also provides two CPLD lines: the CoolRunner and the 9500 series. Each model series has been released in multiple generations since its launch. With the introduction of its 28 nm FPGAs in June 2010, Xilinx replaced the high-volume Spartan family with the Kintex family and the low-cost Artix family.
In newer FPGA products, Xilinx minimizes total power consumption by the adoption of a High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process, which allows for low static power consumption. At the 28 nm node, static power is a significant portion of the total power dissipation of a device and in some cases is the dominant factor. Through the use of a HKMG process, Xilinx has reduced power use while increasing logic capacity. Virtex-6 and Spartan-6 FPGA families are said to consume 50 percent less power, and have up to twice the logic capacity compared to the previous generation of Xilinx FPGAs.
In June, 2010 Xilinx introduced the Xilinx 7 series: the Virtex-7, Kintex-7, and Artix-7 families, promising improvements in system power, performance, capacity, and price. These new FPGA families are manufactured using TSMC's 28 nm HKMG process. The 28 nm series 7 devices feature a 50 percent power reduction compared to the company's 40 nm devices and offer capacity of up to 2 million logic cells. Less than one year after announcing the 7 series 28 nm FPGAs, Xilinx shipped the world’s first 28 nm FPGA device, the Kintex-7, making this the programmable industry’s fastest product rollout. In March 2011, Xilinx introduced the Zynq-7000 family, which integrates a complete ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor-based system on a 28 nm FPGA for system architects and embedded software developers. In May 2017, Xilinx expanded the 7 Series with the production of the Spartan-7 family.
In Dec, 2013, Xilinx introduced the UltraScale series: Virtex UltraScale and Kintex UltraScale families. These new FPGA families are manufactured by TSMC in its 20 nm planar process. At the same time it announced an UltraScale SoC architecture, called Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, in TSMC 16 nm FinFET process.