Transition in Technology: AMD Phases Out CPLD and FPGA Chip Lines

In 2022, AMD completed its acquisition of Xilinx through an all-stock transaction. Post-acquisition, AMD aspires to cement its position as a leader in high-performance and adaptive computing, leveraging an expanded product portfolio encompassing computing, graphics, and adaptive SoCs.

Recently, AMD issued a discontinuation notice, announcing the end of support for the CoolRunner and CoolRunner II series CPLD chips, as well as the Spartan II and Spartan III series FPGA chips. This declaration, highlighting the absence of any replacement products, suggests AMD’s likely decision to phase out CPLD products.

While AMD previously manufactured CPLD chips, its current product line is predominantly sourced from Xilinx, whose mainstay is FPGA chips, although they also produce CPLDs. At the initial acquisition of Xilinx, AMD held the CPLD segment in high regard, describing themselves on their website as “the market leader in programmable logic solutions, providing comprehensive solutions for designers’ CPLD needs.”

AMD’s motives remain unclear, but the CoolRunner series chips are quite outdated, with the first CoolRunner II chip launched in 2002. Similarly, the Spartan series chips are also dated, with Spartan II and Spartan III released in 2000 and 2003, respectively. It appears that AMD is opting to clear outdated products that no longer yield significant profits.

CPLDs (Complex Programmable Logic Devices) and FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) are remarkably similar, serving as programmable hardware that excels in specific workloads but lacks some flexibility. A CPLD chip contains several PALs (Programmable Array Logic), with programmable interconnections between them. By employing a multi-integration approach, a CPLD can achieve the equivalent of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of logic gates in a single chip, enabling the construction of complex circuits.