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Low-cost emulation board raises speed

Posted: 28 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:board-level verification? emulation and verification engineering? eve? zebu-uf? personal emulator?

Offering a board-level verification product that promises enough speed for simultaneous hardware and embedded software debugging, Emulation and Verification Engineering (EVE) will announce its ZeBu-UF series, along with the first member of the new family.

EVE provides low-cost hardware-assisted verification products. To date, the company has provided the board-level ZeBu Personal Emulator and a standalone box, the ZeBu System Emulator.

The new ZeBu-UF family replaces the Personal Emulator, and, like that product, it's a PCI card system that ships with partitioning and debugging software. But the ZeBu-UF offers a considerable advancement, according to Lauro Rizzatti, GM of EVE-USA.

The Personal Emulator, Rizzatti said, "is very rigid in the sense that it's all wired and cannot be expanded to increase design capacity."

The Personal Emulator uses two Xilinx Virtex-II FPGAs and has a capacity of 1.5 million ASIC gates. The ZeBu-UF family, in contrast, uses Virtex-4 FPGAs and will have a maximum capacity of 6 million gates. The initial ZeBu-UF2 offering, however, has two FPGAs, and it supports as many as 3 million gates.

Rizzatti explained that the ZeBu-UF uses a mother and daughter card and that the daughter card can be swapped out later for one with greater capacity. He said EVE expects to release a daughter card with four Virtex-4 FPGAs, supporting up to 6 million gates, early next year.

Further, while the Personal Emulator supports only in-circuit emulation up to 12MHz, the ZeBu-UF2 can run as fast as 60 MHz. That's fast enough to support software debugging in the target system, Rizzatti said. Future ZeBu-UF products will run as fast as 200MHz, he said.

Rizzatti noted that the daughter card has 30 layers and is a "very complex PCB." The initial ZeBu-UF2 product supports 160MB of on-board memory, with future family members reaching 512MB.

The ZeBu-UF2 comes with the same software that has accompanied other EVE emulation products. It includes an automated compiler that performs clustering, memory generation, bus resolution, clock processing and multiple-data-rate wrapper generation.

While 3 million gates may not seem like a large capacity, Rizzatti said, there are "many, many" ASIC designs in the range of 2 million to 3 million gates. The ZeBu-UF2 is available now starting at $25,000.

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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