Electronic Design

FPGA Tools Aid Power Reduction And Simplify Design Creation

The latest revision of Actel’s Libero Integrated Development Environment (IDE) gives designers additional power supply options and enables even lower power consumption. Libero IDE 8.4 offers an FPGA core operating-voltage range from 1.14 to 1.575 V for Actel’s flash-based Igloo, Igloo Plus and ProASIC3L FPGAs. Enhancements to the SmartPower analysis tools within the Libero IBE also ease comparisons of multiple design scenarios and their resulting power consumption and battery life implications. For efficient design creation, the Libero IDE 8.4 also allows Actel-created or third-party intellectual property (IP) blocks, user-developed HDL modules, and glue-logic functions to be easily combined in an accessible project area.

In the new tool suite, users can create and compare multiple user-defined power profile “scenarios,” enabling the user to test operating options to better determine the best design approach for their power-sensitive application. Offering users improved ease of use as well as a comprehensive understanding of power usage in all functional modes of the design, the IDE’s SmartPower tools also offer new graphical power-consumption displays.

Conventional design methodologies include ground-up generation of HDL code or schematic designs to create and stitch the necessary combination of logic functions that make up the FPGA system or sub-system. The improvements to SmartDesign within Libero IDE 8.4 allows users to import user- or third-party-created HDL modules, IP, and glue-logic functions into the project area. The user is then able to quickly select the desired blocks from among the imported functions or the existing catalog of IP cores and drop them onto an enhanced white board-like “canvas” where they are viewed and connected in a system block diagram. In the end, a design-rule-checked and synthesis-ready HDL file is created. SmartDesign supports the quick building of simple designs or sophisticated complex processor-based system-on-chip solutions.

The Actel Libero IDE Gold edition is available on Windows free of charge. The Actel Libero IDE 8.4 Platinum edition is available now on Windows and Linux platforms for $2495. All editions are one-year renewable licenses.


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