Electronic Design

Collaboration Spawns A Structured-ASIC Flow

Structured ASICs are gaining market traction. Designers find that a migration path from FPGA to structured ASIC and, potentially, to standard-cell or custom ASIC is a good way to manage costs. Yet a unified flow that supports all options has been lacking.

Altera and Synopsys have teamed up to create a design flow that spans both the front and back ends of the design process, covering the FPGA and structured-ASIC realms. Resources from Synopsys' Professional Services group will support Altera's HardCopy design center. As a result, device implementation with HardCopy structured ASICs is accelerated thanks to an optimized back-end flow. What's more, designers can now use Synopsys' Galaxy front-end design platform for Altera's Stratix FPGA devices.

Altera supports its HardCopy structured ASICs with a single design center that takes customers' production-ready FPGA designs and converts them to a HardCopy database. It then performs a placed-gates netlist-to-GDSII transformation. Synopsys' Professional Services design centers now will be able to support that back-end flow.

Customers can target their Altera Stratix FPGAs and HardCopy structured ASICs with the Galaxy platform, which includes Design Compiler FPGA, Design Ware IP libraries, Formality formal verification, and PrimeTime static timing analysis. DC FPGA enables designers to design once at RTL for an FPGA or HardCopy device. Designers can then reuse their source description, synthesis scripts, constraint files, and DesignWare IP to migrate the design from the FPGA to structured or standard ASIC.

Altera also rolled out Version 4.1 of its Quartus II back-end tools, which now include support for the Cyclone II FPGA family. The new version sports timing and resource optimization advisors, guiding users in real time during design work on how and when to use the software's features to best effect.

Subscription and Web editions of Quartus II 4.1 are available now. The Web Edition is a free download at Altera's Web site. The Subscription Edition costs $2000 for a node-locked PC license.


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