Electronic Design

Accelerator/Emulators Speed Verification And Debugging

There's really no getting around it. The complexity of today's chip designs will eventually force you to adopt hardware-assisted verification in some form. Software simulation alone is too slow. Meanwhile, functional verification remains Public Enemy #1 in the design community.

Mentor Graphics, which has a long history in the hardware-assisted verification arena, has made its latest splash with the Veloce family of systems. Available in three initial configurations, the Veloce simulation accelerators and/or in-circuit emulators (ICEs) combine the fast runtime speeds and model accuracy of FPGA-based hardware-assisted verification systems with the simulation-like debug and very fast compilation of systems based on custom ASICs.

The heart of the Veloce systems' hardware architecture is a custom ASIC built on a 90-nm process. The chip includes 500 kbits of dual data-rate trace memory as well as a built-in debug engine. According to the company, this results in simulation-like debugging during acceleration as well as during ICE, with visibility into every RTL signal during the entire duration of the test. A trace-compression engine also built into the ASIC provides efficient transport of debug data from the Veloce system to a workstation or PC for analysis.

For design-team-level acceleration and emulation, the Veloce Trio-24/48 and Veloce Solo systems accommodate three users and one user, respectively, with systems intended for use in data centers. Veloce Solo is a personal system that can sit under a designer's desk (see the table). Veloce Quattro is an enterprise-class system for large designs. Shared by up to four users, it's intended as a lab unit.

A standout specification for the Veloce family is runtime speed. As an accelerator, the systems run at over 1 MHz. As ICEs, they've been clocked at up to 1.5 MHz. That translates into faster turnaround times and can mean the ability to compile a design multiple times in a single day.

The Veloce hardware-assisted verification systems are available now. Contact Mentor Graphics directly for pricing.

Mentor Graphics

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