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High-Performance Platform from National Semiconductor and Xilinx Accelerates Design of Gigahertz-Speed Data Acquisition Systems

Board Integrates Xilinx’ Highest Performance Virtex-4 FPGA and National’s Low-Power, Gigahertz-Speed ADC in a Ready-to-Use Development Platform

Nov 7, 2006

November 7, 2005 - National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) and Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) today introduced an integrated development platform that accelerates the design of complex, gigahertz-speed communications and test and measurement systems.  The platform includes the world’s highest-performance Xilinx Virtex™-4 FPGA, which is optimized for reduced power and superior signal integrity, and the ADC08D1500, National Semiconductor’s best-in-class, low-power, 3 giga-sample per second (GSPS) analog-to-digital converter (ADC).  The board also is available with any of the other converters from National’s gigahertz-speed ADC family.

"In the past, system designers had to choose an ADC and an FPGA, develop a custom platform to test with external measurement equipment and then select individual analog components that worked with both devices.  This took an enormous amount of time and required specialized analog design expertise," said David Gamba, director of Vertical Marketing at Xilinx. "We are excited to work with National in introducing a ready-made, fully tested development platform that takes the guesswork out of designing complex test/measurement and communication applications.”

The development platform, in a plastic enclosure, requires only a power source and USB connection in order to collect and store data from any input signal, and upload test results to a PC.  The platform is designed with functional blocks, including the ADC and FPGA; the LVDS interconnect between the ADC and FPGA; analog input networks to the ADC using baluns and differential amplifiers; on-board system clocking using a PLL and VCO; complete power supply design; and temperature monitoring circuitry.  Each of these blocks can be reused by designers to significantly speed the development process.

The FPGA has several unused gates that can be programmed for proprietary firmware development; an expansion header for easy connection to FPGA I/Os; and a logic analyzer header connected to the FPGA for debugging.  All of this allows designers to concurrently develop hardware and FPGA software without having to select and test individual components or utilize external test equipment.

"We are accelerating our customers’ time-to-market with a development platform that integrates one of the market’s most popular FPGAs, the industry’s best-performing ADC and a fully featured test environment," said Rick Zarr, National Semiconductor’s worldwide program manager for Partnership Marketing.  "Now, using our development platform, any designer with a single external 12V power supply and a PC can test and evaluate these complex products in minutes.”

About National’s Gigahertz-speed ADC Family
National Semiconductor’s gigahertz ADC family of low-power converters features five products, which are all available options on the development platform.  The ADC08D500, ADC08D1000 and ADC08D1500 are dual-channel ADCs that simultaneously digitize two input signals to 8-bit resolution at sampling rates of 500 MSPS, 1 GSPS and 1.5 GSPS, respectively, while consuming just 1.0W to 1.8W from a 1.9V nominal supply.  The ADC081000 and ADC081500 are single versions of the dual converters.

None of these ADCs requires a fan or a heat sink, saving board space, reducing system cost and enhancing system reliability.  In dual-edge sampling (DES) mode, the ADC08D1500 samples a single input at 3 GSPS by interleaving the two on-chip converters.  Both coarse and fine timing adjustments are available, allowing the sampling clock for each channel to be calibrated independently in 0.1 pico-second increments.  

About Xilinx Virtex-4 Platform FPGAs
Named 2004 Product of the Year by Electronic Products Magazine, Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs deliver more options, higher performance and lower power than any other FPGA family available today. Manufactured using the world’s first triple-oxide 90nm CMOS technology with 11-layer metal interconnect, Virtex-4 devices represent a quantum leap in programmable device architecture, technology and system design capabilities. With more than 100 technical innovations, the Virtex-4 family consists of 17 devices and three domain-optimized platforms; Virtex-4 LX FPGAs optimized for logic-intensive designs, Virtex-4 SX FPGAs optimized for high-performance signal processing, and Virtex-4 FX FPGAs optimized for high-speed serial connectivity and embedded processing. Devices are shipping now. For more information on the Virtex-4 product family, visit www.xilinx.com/virtex4
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Pricing and Availability 
The fully featured development platform with the ADC08D1500 and Virtex-4 FPGA is available now and priced at $3,800.  To order the development platform, visit xilinx.national.com.

Note to editors: To view a high-resolution, downloadable photo of the development platform, please visit the photo gallery

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit www.xilinx.com

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor, the industry's premier analog company, creates high-value analog devices and subsystems.  National's leading-edge products include power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, communication interface products and data conversion solutions.  National's key analog markets include wireless handsets, displays and a variety of broad electronics markets, including medical, automotive, industrial, and test and measurement applications.  Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $1.91 billion for fiscal 2005, which ended May 29, 2005.  Additional company and product information is available at www.national.com
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