With the introduction of the latest version of its Incisive Xtreme family of emulator/accelerator products, Cadence has also introduced a new approach to pricing that is more flexible and also offers the promise that EDA vendors may at some point share in the benefits its customers derive from increased productivity.
The product family is divided into three layers according to functionality. The entry level line, called "L" is priced at less that $100,000 for a six-month license, while the "GL" version is priced at a bit more than 50% of the entry level product. The GXL product line uses the interesting pricing approach based on "tokens". Customers can purchase tokens that give the license to use various capabilities of the Xtreme III product. In this way each customer can personalize the accelerator to meet the requirements of a specific design project, thus optimizing productivity and potentially lowering the cost of the tool. It is possible that customers will be willing to invest a greater amount of money in a tool that is configurable to each design project. To the customer, Cadence looks ready to charge for only what is required, thus diminishing the level of resentment often present between customers and EDA vendors. So, Cadence is showing leadership and creativity in its approach to marketing expensive EDA tools.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.