Sagantec has used an early version of a migration tool for full-custom designs to boost the performance of a 1GHz PC processor by 20% using the same semiconductor process as the original. The reimplementation also cuts power consumption by around 15%.
The changes were made with an early access version of Sagantec's SiClone tool, which takes hierarchical GDS II descriptions and re-targets them for new processes or different transistors and cells.
The tool has also been tried on a mixed-signal design within a PC chipset and a process migration for a 256Mbit SDRAM. Sagantec claimed six-fold improvements in productivity in both cases.
SiClone is part of Sagantec's long-term plan to move out of migration tools for standard cell libraries into full-custom migration and compaction.
Coby Zelnik, senior vice-president of Sagantec North America, said: "A lot of people think full custom is something that belongs in the past. It is still largely a manual process and we try to accelerate that process by automation. That is a market that we estimate being worth around $100m."
SiClone follows Hurricane, a migration tool for flat designs. Hurricane is to be recast as a compaction tool, to minimise the area of blocks for a given process.