SAN JOSE -- Xilinx Inc. and Agilent Technologies Inc. today announced a jointly developed software tool that allows users of Xilinx field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to easily debug multi-million-gate designs using the Agilent Technologies 16700 series logic analysis systems.
By combining these tools, the partners said, designers will be able to spend less timedebugging in-system chip functionality, and thereby improving their time-to- market.
The ChipScope Integrated Logic Analyzer (ILA) core can be integrated into the actual FPGA design to provide real-time logic analyzer capabilities. As a result, ChipScope ILA tool and the Agilent 16700 logic analyzers are designed to be compatible for system-level debugging.
While the need for thorough debugging capabilities in multi-million gate FPGA designs remains, externally probing package pins or board traces is becoming increasingly difficult. Conventional logic-analyzer probing methods do not easily access leads in advanced ball grid technologies or high-performance.
The Xilinx ChipScope ILA tool integrates logic-analyzer capability into the FPGA. The ChipScope software and the ILA core allow real-time access to any node in the chip at full system speed, with an easy-to-use GUI. The ChipScope software allows designers to quickly download to the FPGA, modify trigger and setup functions, and display waveforms for the captured traces. The Integrated Logic Analyzer data also can be displayed using the Agilent 16700 logic analyzer, time correlated with other system data acquired by the 16700.
"Today's Internet-enabled world has product development windows shrinking at enormous rates," said Rich Sevcik, senior vice president of software, cores, and support at Xilinx. "Time to market advantages are even more critical to the designers and to the success of their products. In many
cases, today's logic designers look first at which solution enables a shorter time to market. The existing FPGA time-to-market advantage combined with real-time logic analysis further shortens that critical development window."
The ChipScope ILA capability includes real-time trace capture and performs synchronously to the internal clock up to 155 MHz. Its capabilities double that of competitive logic analysis tools: it can process up to 4,096 samples and 256 channels. Multiple trigger settings capture not only matches
and ranges, but can record the duration and number of events. This gives the user a wide range of options for complex events.
"When two market leaders join efforts to deliver an integrated solution, their mutual customers succeed," said Pat Byrne, a general manager of the Electronic Products and Solutions Group in Agilent Technologies, the Hewlett-Packard Co. spinoff in Palo Alto, Calif. "Multimillion-gate FPGA designers need state-of-the-art verification tools and many of those designers are already Agilent customers. This was a natural fit to help our customer base get to market more quickly."
Over the next quarter, Agilent and Xilinx plans to introduce additional verification applications to help high gate-count designers efficiently analyze FPGA logic and performance. These include ChipScope Integrated Performance Analyzer (IPA), which enables in-system performance monitoring for analysis of events, bandwidth, and transactions. Xilinx also plans built-in self test (BIST) for self-test capabilities at the device level.
The ChipScope tool and the ILA core for Virtex, Virtex-E and Spartan-II FPGAs are now available for download through the Xilinx Xpresso Cafe E-Commerce site and are available at the introductory price of $195. The ChipScope IPA and ChipScope BIST modules are currently in beta testing and are expected to be available in second quarter. The tools also will be offered with high-density configurations of the Xilinx Foundation Series and Alliance Series software.