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Validator matches DUT signals to simulations

Posted: 02 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Advantest Corp.? Certimax design validation test system? Semiconductor Test Consortium? PXI standard? PXI Express?

Advantest Corp.'s Certimax design validation test system matches signals from a device under test to simulations. Demonstrated at the recent NI Week show at Austin, Texas, Certimax compares simulation data created during the design phase with events measured at the I/O pins of the physical device. Design teams can use the system for multiple purposes, including rewriting a testbench, debug or adjusting performance targets.

Certimax, shipping now, starts at $130,000 per unit.

'Big iron'
Advantest is best known for its standalone IC production test systems, which sell for millions of dollars per unit. For those "big iron" products, the Japan-based company supports the Semiconductor Test Consortium to leverage open standards.

The Certimax testers are not involved with the STC, as they are not production testers. Certimax was designed to interact with simulation data, and with instruments and testers used in the IC development phase. It leverages the PXI standard and will likely support the PXI Express extension in the future.

Certimax's foundation as a PXI module allows it to interface with other testers, including RF test boards, said Robert Sauer, president of the Advantest America R&D Center. As the PXI Express standard catches on, its use will give the Certimax systems additional headroom, he said.

PXI Express has 6Gbps of system bandwidth and 2Gbps per slot (maximum), compared with 134Mbps of system bandwidth for PXI systems.

Links to tools
The Certimax software can interact with LABView programs called Virtual Instruments.

"Event-based testing is more flexible, and it provides direct links to the EDA tools," said Paul Rowbottom, senior marketing manager at the Advantest America R&D Center. "At the same time, it maintains the full ATE pin electronics in a system the size of a PXI chassis."

The Certimax system tops out at 125MHz for both data and clock signaling, and it can test up to 45 different clock domains with deterministic results, according to Advantest. The entry-level system can handle 128 pins from the device under test. By staying with an air-cooled chassis, Certimax can be taken up to the 400-500MHz performance range eventually, Sauer said.

The test system reads simulations at the file level using the standard Value Change Dump format, which is supported by all the major simulation programs.

Certimax supports functional verification and debug. There is no need to translate simulation data.

On top of that
At NI Week, Jerry Katz, manager of test technology at Advantest, demonstrated Certimax's capabilities. Each pin has its own time base, supporting multiple buses with different frequencies on the DUT. "This can do all that a cycle-based tester can do, and on top of that, all the things that an event-based tester can do," Katz said.

- David Lammers
EE Times

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