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Hyperlynx integrates signal, power integrity in PCB designs

Posted: 06 Apr 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PCB design  hyperlynx  pcb manufacturing 

The latest release of Mentor's Hyperlynx is setting the PCB sphere on fire. To set the scene and make sure we're all on the same page, let's place Hyperlynx in the context of the overall OCB design, verification and manufacturing flow all illustrated below.

On the photo below we have the PCB design (schematic and layout) tools feeding into the HyperLynx PCB analysis and verification environment. Shown here are Mentor's PCB design offerings—Xpedition for Enterprise-level designs and PADS for project-based PCB designs—but you can use other tools from the EDA vendor of your choice.

mfg flow

Figure 1: Mentor’s PCB design offerings (Source: Mentor Graphics)

In these days of extreme design complexity, we're seeing more and more boards with thousands of components, tens of thousands of connections, and enough voltage rails to make your eyes water. Consider the following two examples, for example:

binocular helmet

Figure 2: Specs of binocular helmet mounted display. (Source: Mentor Graphics/BAE Systems)

binocular helmet

Figure 3: The high performance scope acquisition system has over 5,000+ parts. (Source: Mentor Graphics/Keysight Technologies)

We're also seeing shifting high-speed design challenges, including memory interfaces being in transition (DDR3 to DDR4 to Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology); large numbers of lower voltages coupled with higher currents and reduced layers/planes giving a "Swiss cheese" effect that impacts return paths; and fast, multi-lane structures, multi-level signaling (PAM-4), and channel operating margin (COM).

binocular helmet

Figure 3: High-speed design challenges include memory interfaces in transition (DDR3 to DDR4 to Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology). (Source: Mentor Graphics)

In order to address designs of this calibre, the new release of HyperLynx integrates signal and power integrity; 2D, 2.5D, and 3D solvers; and fast rule checking into a unified environment. Analysing all of this could potentially be a processing nightmare, not the least that it is no longer possible to work on a subset of the design in isolation; instead, the entire board (including component package internals) has to be analysed at the same time.

The way in which HyperLynx addresses this is to combine a suite of powerful EM solvers, simulators, and geometry processing engines, and to employ design decomposition based on extremely sophisticated pattern recognition. The end result is to automatically deploy the appropriate, 2D, 2.5D, & 3D solvers for each portion of each signal.

hyperlynx integration

Figure 5: Hyperlynx’ combination of EM solvers, simulators and geometry processing engines. (Source: Mentor Graphics)

hyperlynx integration

Figure 6: Hyperlynx automatically deploys the appropriate 2D, 2.5D, & 3D solvers for each portion of each signal. (Source: Mentor Graphics)

Things have certainly changed from the days when designers only had to contend with a relatively small number of components, vias, and signals; a single 5V power supply; and a ground plane that was as solid and as steady as a rock. Today's complex designs simply could not be realised without access to sophisticated verification and analysis tools and technologies, such as HyperLynx.

Speaking of which, this new release of HyperLynx is available now.

-Max Maxfield
EE Times

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