SANTA CRUZ, Calif. #&151; A special pre-release version of Synopsys' Design Compiler synthesis tool is demonstrating huge improvements in runtime and memory capacity, according to an engineer who reviewed the tool for the E-Mail Synopsys Users Group. Synopsys confirmed that the engineer's statements are correct.
The engineer, Philip Jackson of Conexant Systems, described his experience with the new release in the ESNUG 424 bulletin. The new Design Compiler (DC) release, not yet announced by Synopsys, is code-named Nighthawk2.
With the previous DC 2003.06-SP1 release, Jackson said, his company's million-gate runtimes took several days, and the design would only fit on a 64-bit machine because it took 7 Gbytes of memory. "This was unacceptable and we were forced to look at alternatives (Magma)," he wrote. When Synopsys heard about that, he noted, they brought in Nighthawk2.
As a result, Jackson wrote, Conexant was able to fit the design into 2.5 Gbytes, allowing it to run on a Linux machine. Synthesis, from RTL to a scan-inserted, timing closed netlist, took only 5 hours to complete. Jackson wrote about several methodology improvements that helped make up the difference, but the primary factor noted in his report is the switch to Nighthawk2.
"Originally, we were forced to break up the design due to the large amount of memory required to synthesize the design," Jackson wrote. "With the memory reduction that we were able to achieve using DC Nighthawk2, we were able to go back to a top-down script."
Synopsys is normally reticent to comment about unannounced products, but not this time. "We can confirm the accuracy of the statements made in ESNUG by Philip Jackson of Conexant," said a Synopsys spokeswoman. "Nighthawk2 does exist, and is one of several special releases that deliver significant advancements in DC to the customers that need them in between regularly scheduled major releases."
The spokeswoman said the Nighthawk2 enhancements will be introduced into the next major release of Design Compiler, but declined to give a date.
Increasing competition may have spurred Synopsys to beef up Design Compiler, said John Cooley, ESNUG moderator. "It shows Synopsys is not just sitting on their derriere they're pro-actively improving the product," he said. "The last time I saw this was in the Ambit days."