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QuickLogic touts 'power aware' tool

Posted: 13 Apr 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fpga? asic? quicklogic? placement tool? quickworks v9.6?

Bringing to FPGAs a capability more typically found with ASIC design, QuickLogic Corp. has revealed a "power aware" placement tool for its QuickWorks V9.6 development system. The tool works with QuickLogic's Eclipse II FPGAs, which began shipping in February 2003 for low-power applications.

Presented as the industry's lowest-power FPGA, the Eclipse II family aims at mobile, portable and wireless systems. With densities ranging from 47,000 to 320,000 system gates, the devices claim standby currents as low as 50A. Features include 250MHz performance, embedded dual-port SRAM, low-skew clock networks, and programmable PLLs.

"If you really need low power and you're using batteries, Eclipse is the way to go," said Brian Faith, director of logic products at QuickLogic. An Eclipse device might be a good alternative to an off-the-shelf DSP that would draw considerably more power, he said.

QuickLogic's new PowerAware Placer leverages the Eclipse II architecture to minimize dynamic power during placement. The Eclipse II contains column clock buffers. Each column has a capacitive load attached to it, which increases the power consumption. The placer reduces the number of columns used, thus reducing power.

"We've seen a 10 percent dynamic power improvement in our benchmarks," Faith said. "That may not sound like much, but it can increase battery life by another hour or two." QuickWorks 9.6 also provides a power calculator that lets users model dynamic power consumption based on placement and routing results.

"You specify your clock frequency and the I/O voltage for different banks of I/O," Faith said. "The tool adds up all the logic cells and RAMs and calculates dynamic power for you."

QuickWorks 9.6 also claims improvements in design flow interface. The tool suite includes schematic entry and physical layout, with HDL simulation and synthesis provided through OEM agreements with Aldec, Simucad, and Synplicity. QuickWorks 9.6 is available now for free on Windows platforms. Pricing for the Eclipse II devices starts at $3.50 in production quantities.

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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