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Magma spins enhanced version of RTL-to-GDSII tool

Posted: 23 Dec 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Magma design automation? blast fusion? rtl gdsii tool? apx? advanced physical design system?

Magma Design Automation Inc. has released an enhanced version of its Blast Fusion RTL-to-GDSII tool that targets high-performance, high-complexity nanometer designs.

Rochelle Drenan, senior product marketing director at Magma, said the company's Blast Fusion APX has more advanced features than the regular version of Blast Fusion, with twice the capacity, a 50 percent smaller memory footprint and the ability to cut run-times in half.

Venktesh Shukla, SVP of marketing and business development at Magma, said the APX tool is targeted at customers doing the highest-performance designs on the most advanced processes. "The standard Blast Fusion product is perfect for most design groups today, but over time everyone will move to APX. Unless you are pushing the envelope today, you do not need this."

Drenan said that Magma has added on-chip variation support to the timing engine of the APX tool. "As people do higher type nanometer designs, they need to take into account the effects of on-chip variations while they are timing the design," she said. "Any variation due to process effects can be turned on in the timer. The engine will actually fix timing violations with OCV taken into account."

Another feature that has been added to APX is support for multiple Vt libraries. Though in limited use today for some cutting-edge designs for 130nm processes, they will likely become the standard for 90nm designs, Drenan said.

"In newer processes leakage power becomes more significant," she said. "If your library vendor or foundry provides you with multi-threshold libraries, we can take those multiple libraries into account during the optimization phase."

The APX tool will automatically pick the lowest-power cells for paths that are not time-critical, Drenan said. Otherwise the tool will select a higher-power cell so that paths meet timing requirements.

The tool also has supports multiple voltages, which will allow designers of cellphone ASICs, for example, to designate parts of a design to power down or become idle when other parts of the design are in use, Drenan said.

Magma also claims the APX has a 2x run-time improvement and 2x capacity improvement over the standard version of Blast Fusion.

"APX handles 5 million gates flat on a 32-bit machine," said Drenan, who noted that the run-time and capacity improvements were made by adjusting the tool's data model and tightening its algorithms.

Along with the advanced features, Blast Fusion APX also has a higher price tag; it costs $600,000 a year for a three-year time-based license. In comparison, the standard version of Blast Fusion licenses for $400,000 a year.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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