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Monterey adds Synplicity synthesis to ASIC design

Posted: 16 Oct 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Monterey design system? dolphin? ic placement tool? ic routing tool? rtl gdsii flow?

Claiming to have a full RTL-to-GDSII design flow at last, Monterey Design Systems has added logic synthesis to its Dolphin placement and routing system. The Dolphin-RTL synthesis offering, to be announced this week, is an optimized version of Synplicity Inc.'s Synplify ASIC synthesis tool.

Monterey VP Dave Reed said the company has been working with Synplicity for 18 months to tailor a version of Synplify ASIC to the Monterey back end. "This new version is targeted at customers wanting a full RTL-to-GDSII flow," said Reed. "A lot of smaller companies moving to COT want a complete flow from one vendor and this is what we are giving them."

With Dolphin-RTL, Monterey finally has a "true" IC implementation flow, said Gary Smith, chief EDA analyst at Gartner Dataquest. "To have an IC implementation flow, you have to go from RTL to GDSII. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of Synopsys. With this announcement, Monterey now has control over its competitive environment."

Reed said the Synplify ASIC technology in Dolphin-RTL handles structure mapping, while the legacy Monterey synthesis tool, in concert with the Dolphin placer and router, handles the specific technology mapping and optimization.

In the Dolphin-RTL flow, Synplify ASIC will generate an initial logic structure independent of wire loads. Users will then perform tech mapping and logic optimization with Monterey's progressive multi-objective refinement technology to meet timing and other constraints.

"The combined solution has better performance, capacity and accuracy than the previous version of Dolphin," said Reed.

'Second generation'

Reed called the new Dolphin-RTL a "second-generation RTL-to-GDSII tool" because it does not rely on wire load models, which at nanometer design can be inaccurate, and because it has a higher capacity.

First-generation RTL-to-GDSII tools, Reed said, cannot account for clock trees and power networks during physical synthesis and placement and require users to perform those steps after routing, which requires engineers to backtrack to fix errors.

Dolphin-RTL performs all physical synthesis, implementation and analysis operations simultaneously. Reed said the tool also has a larger capacity than older flows, which partition designs into manageable block sizes of 50,000 to 150,000 gates. Dolphin-RTL is said to handle more than 2 million gates flat.

Aside from adding the Synplicity front end, Reed said, Monterey has improved the speed and accuracy of the Dolphin place-and-route technology by 10 percent.

A single-year Dolphin license is priced at $400,000. A single-year license for Dolphin-RTL is priced at $450,000. The upgrade will not be free for Dolphin users.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

- Additional reporting by Richard Goering.

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