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Synplicity debugger supports latest FPGAs

Posted: 27 Jun 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:synplicity? identify rtl? debugging software? fpga? xilinx?

Version 1.2 of Synplicity Inc.'s Identify RTL debugging software features increased functionality and support for the latest field-programmable gate arrays from Actel, Altera and Xilinx. The Identify software, based on debugger technology obtained in Synplicity's 2002 acquisition of Bridges2Silicon Inc., allows users of FPGA-based prototyping systems to debug hardware directly in register-transfer-level source code.

"In the old days a design was small enough so that you could take a guess as to what's wrong, then reprogram the FPGA to fix the problem," said Brian Caslis, director of marketing for Identify and Certify products at Synplicity. "But today FPGAs have close to ASIC-like functionality, so the old hit-or-miss type of debugging doesn't really work. You need to get internal access to fully debug the functionality."

Caslis noted that Identify is strictly a functionality debugger and will not detect timing problems, for example.

V1.2 includes a few new sampling modes and supports leading suppliers' latest FPGAs including Xilinx Inc.'s Virtex-II Pro FPGAs, Actel Corp.'s ProASIC and ProASIC Plus FPGAs, and Agilent Technologies Inc.'s traceport cable. The software also supports Altera Corp.'s Apex, Apex-II and Stratix FPGAs; and Xilinx's Spartan II, Spartan II-E, Virtex, Virtex-E and Virtex-II FPGAs. Synplicity now offers vendor-specific versions of Identify, Caslis said.

The company has added qualified and flush debugger on-demand sampling modes. The qualified-sampling mode allows users to set and capture specific errors in a design without setting buffer triggers, said Caslis. Designs sometimes hang up or get stuck on certain debuggers, he said. And the flush debugger will "shift the last data out of the buffer that it captured to go back and debug to find out what it was doing," he said.

Identify now outputs VCD or VHDL models to third-party waveform viewers and comes with an open-source viewer based on GTK Wave. The company also offers Identify with single-vendor pricing. A single-vendor perpetual license starts at $15,000, while the single-vendor one-year license begins at $9,000. A mulivendor perpetual license of Identify starts at $25,000 and a one-year subscription at $15,000.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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