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Mentor Graphics boosts PCB signal integrity

Posted: 10 Jul 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mentor graphics? hyperlynx? interconnectix? boardstation? quad xtk?

To help PCB design engineers better manage signal integrity issues, Mentor Graphics Corp. has added new functionality to the standard version of its HyperLynx pre- and post-layout PCB signal integrity (SI) simulation and analysis tool. The company has also released a turbocharged version of the tool for GHz PCB designs.

With multiple acquisitions in the pc-board area over the last two years, Mentor now offers three SI solutions. Its high-end solution, Interconnectix, is offered as part of the BoardStation suite. Quad XTK, which came from Innoveda Inc., is a part of the PADS PCB design flow and the Cadence Allegro design flow. HyperLynx is a standalone tool for all design flows.

Glenn Perry, director of the analysis products group at the systems design division of Mentor Graphics, said HyperLynx has grown in popularity as a standalone SI tool but also as a virtual oscilloscope to double-check signal integrity results and catch errors that other tools and flows might have missed.

To the latest release, HyperLynx 7.0, Mentor has added new functionality and ease-of-use features not available in the HyperLynx EXT version. "Today, whether they want to or not, all pcb designers are having to deal with some degree of high-speed design," said Perry. "And over the last 14 to 18 months there has been a real move toward multigigabit, serialized, asynchronous design method and with it the needs for high-speed design are changing dramatically. What used to be a matter of delay, overshoot, undershoot, and crosstalk have now become fairly deep analog problems."

But while signal integrity issues are becoming more common as clock speeds rise, Perry said fewer signal integrity gurus are available to deal with such issues. So Mentor has automated HyperLynx to allow non-SI experts to perform signal integrity analysis competently.

Mentor has also enhanced the stack-up editor and impedance-planner utilities of HyperLynx 7.0, which is targeted at PCB designs with speeds up to 500MHz. These utilities allow users to specify impedance and then optimize all other parameters in an analysis to meet a design's requirements, said Perry.

Furthermore, the company said it has improved differential signaling so that the tool can identify quick terminators for differential signaling. And the tool's oscilloscope feature can now show IC thresholds. HyperLynx now works with Mentor's BoardSim and ICX products and supports new Ibis models with V-I and Vt curve correction.

For SI analysis of designs above 500MHz, the new HyperLynx GHz includes all the features of HyperLynx EXT, plus a number of advanced SI features that have been simplified for non-expert users. The most notable addition is an inter-symbol-interference (ISI) diagram analysis feature, which provides views of time domains and switching data for gigahertz designs. Users can define multi-bit stimulus for a net, including toggle (clock), pseudorandom, 8B/10B encoding, or custom.

Other features

The tool also can simulate clock, signal propagation and receive/PLL jitter and overlay "eye mask" thresholds on software waveforms, instead of hooking a chip up to an oscilloscope to see if it works in the context of a given high-speed design layout.

Related to the new eye diagram feature, Mentor has also included more-precise transmission-line and via models, which the company said are required for gigahertz designs. Many of these are created in Spice for use in Synopsys Inc.'s HSpice simulator.

HyperLynx GHz also includes a function that allows users to control HSpice from the HyperLynx GUI.

Perry said the ISI function includes several built-in features that automate advanced HSpice subroutines under the hood. "They deal with HSpice in the same easy-to-use HyperLynx environment, but they get that depth and power they need from the Spice simulator," he said.

HyperLynx 7.0 is available immediately, starting at $17,500. Upgrades from EXT to GHz start at $6,500.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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