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FPGA tool suite touts domain-specific design flow

Posted: 28 Apr 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ISE Design Suite  digital signal processing  system-on-chip 

"New FPGA users are coming from different design disciplines, and they approach design from their unique perspectives. It is no longer feasible to expect that one design flow or environment fits every designer's needs," said Tom Feist, senior marketing director for ISE Design Suite at Xilinx. "Our ISE 11.1 release addresses this reality by providing the tools designers need with targeted design platforms that reflect the way they work, so they can go from concept to production in the fastest possible time. This domain-specific approach establishes a new interoperability benchmark for FPGA design tools that is backed by more than two years of R&D and extensive beta testing with early access customers."

Figure 2: ISE Design Suite 11.1 tool flow. (Click image for larger version)

Domain-optimised design configurations

Each ISE Design Suite 11.1 Edition provides a front-to-back design environment built on Xilinx exclusive technologies for design entry, synthesis, implementation, and verification with integration to industry-leading third-party synthesis and simulation solutions. In this way, designers can select the configuration that is best suited to their methodology and Xilinx targeted design platform.
- ISE Design Suite Logic Edition is optimised for logic and connectivity designers with the Xilinx base targeted design platform, and includes: ISE Foundation, ISE Simulator, PlanAhead Design and Analysis Tool, ChipScope Pro Debug and Serial I/O Toolkit, extensive catalogue of foundation IP, and bitstream generation/device programming utilities.
- ISE Design Suite DSP Edition is optimised for algorithm, system, and hardware developers with the Xilinx DSP domain targeted design platform, and includes: System Generator for DSP, AccelDSP Synthesis Tool and DSP-specific IP, plus all base-level FPGA design tools and technologies in the Logic Edition.
- ISE Design Suite Embedded Edition is optimised for embedded system designers (both hardware and software programmers) with the Xilinx embedded domain targeted design platform, and includes: the Embedded Development Kit with Platform Studio Design Suite, Software Developers Kit now also available as a stand-alone product, embedded-specific IP including the MicroBlaze soft processor, plus all base-level FPGA design tools and technologies in the Logic Edition.
ISE Design Suite System Edition is optimised for system designers with the Xilinx Connectivity Domain Targeted Design Platform, and includes: all the tools, technologies, and IP in the Logic Edition, DSP Edition and Embedded Edition.

Inter-tool communication

Xilinx says that it has also improved inter-tool communication throughout the entire design process, created interoperability between all design configurations, and adopted EDA industry-standard FLEXnet licensing solutions for the ISE Design Suite 11.1 release.

Embedded and DSP flows are more tightly integrated to ease implementation of embedded, DSP, IP and custom blocks into a single system, claims Xilinx. Each step within the design flow is optimised to facilitate more "turns per day" (design iterations) with new multi-threaded place and route capabilities, SmartXplorer and ExploreAhead support for distributed processing techniques, and second generation SmartGuide technology delivering 2X faster compile and incremental run times to accelerate timing closure.

The ISE Design Suite 11.1 also features power optimisation algorithms and design visibility with access to the PlanAhead Design and Analysis software for all Editions. In addition, ISE Design Suite 11.1 users can now tailor their installation and monitor usage. New floating licences allow multiple users in multiple locations to access a single licence in order to cost effectively support large or distributed design organisations and help reduce overall project costs. Alternatively, node-locked licences provide the option for limiting usage to a single machine.

Availability, pricing

Support for Virtex-6 and Spartan-6 FPGAs is available through the ISE Design Suite 11.1 early access program with general public support to follow in the ISE Design Suite 11.2 release. List price for ISE Design Suite 11.1 node-locked licence starts at: Rs.1.49 lakh ($2,995) for Logic Edition; Rs.1.69 lakh ($3,395) for Embedded Edition; Rs.2.09 lakh ($4,195) for DSP Edition; and $4,595.00 ($4,595) for System Edition. Flexible floating licensing options are also available. Customers can download full-featured 30-day evaluation versions of ISE Design Suite 11.1 Editions from the Xilinx website at no charge.

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