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Xilinx design tools suit logic, embedded, DSP

Posted: 26 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA logic? DSP?

Xilinx Inc. has introduced its ISE Design Suite 10.1, a single unified release providing FPGA logic, embedded and DSP designers with immediate access to the company's entire line of design tools with full interoperability. The ISE Design Suite 10.1 delivers significantly faster implementations with an average of 2x faster runtimes, allowing designers to complete more turns per day.

Significant to today's release is the introduction of SmartXplorer technology, developed specifically to address the top challenges of the design communitytiming closure and productivity. SmartXplorer technology leverages distributed processing across multiple Linux machines to enable even more implementation runs per day, and up to 38 percent faster performance by leveraging distributed processing and multiple implementation strategies. SmartXplorer technology also provides tools that allow users to monitor each run with individual timing reports."SmartXplorer provides a powerful addition to our FPGA design flow. Without SmartXplorer we had to log onto multiple servers and manage individual PAR jobs manually," said Honda Yang, logic designer at Xsigo Systems, Inc., the technology leader in data center I/O virtualization. "I was amazed to see the results of the different strategies. Using SmartXplorer, we achieved 20 percent faster performance."

Productivity boost
With the availability of the PlanAhead Lite tool in ISE Foundation software, users have access to a subset of the powerful floorplanning and analysis capabilities of the award winning PlanAhead design and analysis tool. Included at no additional cost, PlanAhead Lite features the revolutionary PinAhead technology, an intuitive solution designed to simplify the complexities of managing the interface between the target FPGA and PCB. PinAhead technology facilitates early and intelligent pinout definition to eliminate many of the pinout related changes that typically happen downstream by performing design rule checks during interactive pin placement. Once the pin assignments have been completed, PinAhead provides the ability to export I/O port information through either comma separated value (CSV) files or via VHDL or Verilog headers.

With ISE Design Suite 10.1, Xilinx has also simplified the process of determining optimal implementation settings. Designers now have the ability to specify and set their own design goals, whether they are working to maximize performance, optimize device utilization, reduce dynamic power or minimize implementation time. Designers using this area reduction strategy can realize an average of 10 percent better logic utilization.

The ISE Design Suite 10.1 also benefits from the efforts of the company's joint collaboration with Mentor Graphics. Through the use of IEEE IP encrypted models, ISE Design Suite 10.1 offers up to 2x faster run times. The new performance optimized BRAM, DSP and FIFO simulation models further reduce RTL simulation runtimes by an additional 2X.

Power analysis, optimization
Industry studies show meeting power budgets is a growing challenge for FPGA designers, especially as process geometries continue to shrink. The ISE Design Suite 10.1 provides capabilities for users to analyze power requirements early in the design and optimize dynamic power throughout the design process.

The second generation XPower power analysis tool enhances power estimation by providing an improved user interface to make it easy to analyze power by blocks, hierarchy, power rails and resources used. Information is presented in both text and HTML report formats. This is a significant advance from the static estimation web pages offered by other logic providers and a leap forward in providing accurate power dissipation information.

ISE Design Suite 10.1 provides power optimization that's both convenient and extensive. Using the integrated 'power optimization design goal' feature, users have a simple, one-step process to specify power optimization. With improvements in the map and place & route algorithms, users can reduce dynamic power in their designs by an average of 10 percent for 65nm Virtex-5 devices and an average of 12 percent with Spartan-3 generation FPGAs.

To help users achieve optimal embedded and DSP design results more quickly, ISE Design Suite 10.1 also introduces many ease-of-use enhancements to both the Xilinx embedded and DSP tools, including unified interoperability which allows users to easily add System Generator modules within the ISE Project Navigator. Inter-tool integration enhancements between EDK and System Generator for DSP technologies enable more sophisticated FPGA SoC design incorporating both embedded and signal processing.

The ISE Design Suite 10.1 consists of ISE Foundation, Embedded Development Kit (EDK) with Platform Studio (XPS), System Generator for DSP, AccelDSP synthesis tool, ChipScope Pro analyzer and ChipScope Pro Serial I/O toolkit, PlanAhead design and analysis tool and ISE simulator. Users can install domain specific DSP, embedded and logic design products from either a DVD or electronic download. Using an electronic fulfillment process as the primary product delivery method provides users with access to not only the products they are entitled to, but evaluation versions of other Xilinx design tools.

All products in the ISE Design Suite 10.1 are immediately available with prices ranging from $495 to $2,495. Full-featured 60-day evaluation versions can be downloaded from the Xilinx Web site at no charge.

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