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Actel upgrades FPGA design tool bundle

Posted: 01 Jul 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:libero? fpga design? fpga tool? designer software? synplify?

Actel Corp. has released an upgrade to its Libero FPGA design environment with new ease-of-use and run-time enhancement features.

The Libero tool bundle includes Actel's internally-developed Designer series of place and route software along with Synplicity Inc.'s Synplify synthesis tool, Model Technology Inc.'s ModelSim simulator and SynaptiCAD Inc.'s WaveFormer testbench generation tool.

Saloni Howard-Sarin, tools marketing director at Actel, said Libero v2.2 includes the latest editions of Synplify and Waveformer, as well as improvements to the Designer place and route products.

Synplify v7.1 features an incremental timing analysis engine and an automated register retiming feature, Howard-Sarin said. These additions allow users to derive more accurate timing estimations and cut down design iterations.

Synplify's automatic retiming feature analyzes critical paths and repositions registers within combinatorial logic to balance routing and ultimately improve circuit performance, she said.

Libero now also includes SynaptiCAD's WaveFormer Lite v8.3, a graphical entry tool that describes a simulation graphically then converts it into a VHDL or Verilog testbench.

This version of WaveFormer can handle much larger files than the previous version due to SynaptiCAD's binary waveform file format, according to Actel.

Libero v2.2 also included an enhanced version of Actel's Designer place and route software that includes power analysis features that allow the viewing of hierarchical netlists and provides support for fixed pins, said Howard-Sarin.

The Designer series now has a new utility called "Smart Power" that gives users power estimates while they are performing placement. "It does power estimation for a whole design, but users can also use it at the block level or any level in the design," said Howard-Sarin.

Designers can now directly import a structural design into the Libero design environment, she said.

Libero will also convert schematic blocks into HDL and import all the files needed into Actel Designer software, eliminating the need for a customer to manage data files that need to be passed from one tool to another.

Actel licenses Libero in three configurations. The Silver version is available free to Actel customers but only supports smaller Actel devices and does not include the ModelSim simulation software.

The Gold version costs $995 and includes ModelSim simulation and supports most Actel devices. The Platinum version costs $2,495 and includes Actel-specific versions of all the Libero tools and supports all Actel devices.

Michael Santarini

EE Times





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