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Specialist semiconductor distributor Silica is supporting the launch of Xilinx's MicroBlaze high-performance 32-bit soft processor with a suite of evaluation and development kits. Available to customers in Europe exclusively from Silica, the new tools will help to speed and simplify the implementation of designs using the MicroBlaze processor and Xilinx's Spartan-II, Spartan-IIE, Virtex-E and Virtex-II FPGA families.

Featuring a 32-bit Harvard Bus RISC architecture, the MicroBlaze IP core is the industry's fastest soft-processing solution, offering three times the performance of its leading competitor in just half the size. Used in conjunction with Xilinx's 4.2i Integrated Software Environment, MicroBlaze runs at up to 125MHz and delivers 82 Dhrystone MIPS, yet occupies only 900 logic cells.

Supporting on-chip and/or off-chip memory for code and data storage, MicroBlaze incorporates nine peripheral cores and the proven IBM CoreConnect bus technology. A comprehensive selection of GNU software tools and standard peripherals is offered and applications set to benefit include a wide range of networking, telecom, datacom, consumer and embedded systems.

MicroBlaze is supported by extensive design resources. Complementing version 2.2 of the MicroBlaze Development Kit, Silica's exclusive portfolio of Spartan-II, Spartan-IIE, Virtex-E and Virtex-II evaluation and development kits includes tools tailored specifically for the new IP core. Silica's Spartan-IIE Evaluation Kit (ADS-SP2E-MB-EVL) is available bundled with a MicroBlaze core licence and communications / memory module. Priced at 0, it is ideal for newcomers to FPGA implementation and VHDL design, providing a stable working environment complete with tested demonstration designs. A Spartan-II version (ADS-SP2-MB-EVL), also bundled with the MicroBlaze core licence, is available for 9.

For designers working with MicroBlaze and the Virtex-E family, Silica has available both an evaluation kit (ADS-VE-MB-EVL) and a development kit (ADS-VE-MB-DEV) created by Avnet Design Services. Priced at 50, the latter is a complete hardware environment that incorporates a wide range of functions typically required by design teams. Equally sophisticated development kits are available for the Virtex-II family, with prices starting at 00 for a system based on the XC2V1500 device (ADS-V2-MB-DEV).

Commenting on the introduction of the new MicroBlaze tools, Andre Goodison, Silica's European Franchise Director for Xilinx, said: "The development of these evaluation and development kits demonstrates our commitment to helping customers accelerate time-to-market, and reflects our close working partnership with Xilinx. The combination of best-in-class silicon, sophisticated IP cores and the truly user-friendly design environment available at Silica ensures that realising the full potential of Xilinx's FPGA technology has never been easier."

Silica, a division of Avnet Electronics Marketing EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, Africa), is a highly specialised semiconductor distributor. Silica has sales & marketing offices throughout Europe and provides a broad portfolio of semiconductor products and solutions from world leading suppliers to all market segments in the electronics industry. The company's Web site is located at


http://www.silica.com


Serving customers in 63 countries, Avnet Electronics Marketing is the largest operating group of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Avnet, Inc. Avnet Electronics Marketing markets, inventories and adds value to electronic components and provides world-class supply-chain management and engineering design services.

Avnet, with fiscal year 2001 sales of .8 billion (year ended June 30, 2001), is the world's largest distributor of semiconductors, interconnect, passive and electromechanical components, embedded subsystems and enterprise computing products from leading manufacturers.

Press contacts:
Eileen Preston
European Marcom Manager, Silica
Tel: +44 (0)1628 606284, mobile: + 44 (0)7976 606005
Email: eileen.preston@avnet.com

Jonathan Batty / Kay Dunican
Brodeur Worldwide UK
Tel: 01753 448851 / 448841
Email: jbatty@uk.brodeur.com / kdunican@uk.brodeur.com
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