Lattice upgrades FPGA design software
Clive Maxfield 1/21/2013 1:17 PM EST
The folks at Lattice Semiconductor have just announced an array of advancements to their software platforms, debuting new versions of the Lattice Diamond and iCEcube2 design tools.
The updated software prominently features several notable advancements that improve power calculations and design productivity aimed at the creation of mobile and consumer, communication, and industrial systems that undergo fast design cycles, demand power efficiency, and have aggressive cost constraints.
iCEcube2 Design Environment
“These refinements address the tough combination of power, size, cost, and connectivity requirements for such high-volume markets as smart phones, tablets, and mobile computing,’’ said Mike Kendrick, Director of Software Marketing at Lattice
“Fine-tuned for the unique architecture of our low power, low cost, low density and ultra-low density FPGAs, this software release marks a significant step forward in the design of power-sensitive devices. The tools enable an in-depth understanding of total power usage and simplify design exploration to achieve product goals faster than ever.”
Lattice Diamond 2.1
New Insights into Low Power Design
The updated Diamond Power Calculator contains a matrix that displays the power consumption of each block and each power supply. Also, the detailed power analysis for multiple design implementations can now be easily compared side by side in a new chart, extending the benefits of design exploration. For power- aware FPGAs such as the Lattice MachXO2 device, designers, designers can view the detailed power analyses for the two power modes side by side.
Enhanced Design Exploration
Lattice Diamond software is designed to simply, create, and explore different design implementations to achieve the aggressive design goals of low cost, high volume designs. New algorithms further speed timing closure for multipass runs. By dynamically fine tuning the netlist during placement to meet the characteristics of the device, innovative algorithms for the LatticeECP3 FPGA family achieve faster performance in the target device without incurring area penalties and increasing cost. Moreover, timing reports now include enhanced information on unconstrained timing paths that accelerates the analysis of design constraints and timing results.
New Upgrades Boost Ease of Use
Lattice Diamond 2.1 software’s Hierarchy view is now automatically available alongside the File List and Process views.
It displays design resource usage at various stages of the implementation process, and allows the user to move directly to the HDL source for each level of hierarchy, to designate any level of the hierarchy as the top of the design, and to generate symbols for any level of hierarchy.
Verification and debug has also been upgraded. The Reveal debugger now supports debug insertion into a mixed language design at the HDL level, preserving buses and type information. The Simulation Wizard has new options that allow users unfamiliar with simulators to easily start simulations and trace signals.
To further help designers, updated documentation includes an expanded FPGA Design Guide with more information on HDL coding guidelines and timing analysis. A new tutorial provides in-depth information to help new users to begin working with the Lattice Diamond software.
The LatticeMico System’s capability for generating system platforms has also been improved. Now, designers can easily expand the peripheral set of their microcontroller by connecting it to an FPGA that contains a peripheral-only platform generated by the LatticeMico System.
Ultra-low density FPGA design software for iCE40
iCEcube2 software is the design environment for the Lattice iCE40 family of ultra-low density FPGA devices. The updated iCEcube2 software includes improvements that increase accuracy. For example, the new version of iCEcube2 software now includes final timing and power data that enable design analysis under worst case as well as typical conditions. The updated data also reflect wider temperature ranges to support both commercial and industrial devices, which gives designers greater confidence that their design will operate correctly in a variety of conditions. The power estimator also has improved data and algorithms that increase the accuracy of dynamic and static power calculations.
Third-party tool support
Lattice Diamond 2.1 includes:
- Synopsys’ Synplify Pro advanced FPGA synthesis for Windows and Linux.
- Aldec’s Active-HDL Lattice Edition II simulator for Windows.
Lattice iCEcube2 includes:
- Synopsys’ Synplify Pro advanced FPGA synthesis for Windows
- Aldec’s Active-HDL Lattice Edition II simulator for Windows.
- Synopsys Synplify PRO’s OEM and full versions’ support all Lattice FPGAs.
- Aldec supports all Lattice FPGAs in the full and OEM versions of Active-HDL and in the full version of the Riviera-PRO advanced simulator.
- Mentor Graphics ModelSim SE simulator supports all Lattice devices.
Operating systems support
Lattice Diamond 2.1 software supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 operating systems, and is also available in a 64-bit application for Windows 7 to increase memory capacity.
For Linux users, Diamond 2.1 has supported Red Hat 4, 5, 6, and Novell SUSE 10.1.
New in this release is 64-bit support for Red Hat 4, 5, and 6 for increased memory capacity.
Lattice iCEcube2 software supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.
Pricing and availability
Two versions of the Lattice Diamond 2.1 design software can be downloaded from the Lattice website for Windows and Linux.
Once downloaded and installed, the software can be used with either the Lattice Diamond free license or the Lattice Diamond subscription license.
The Lattice Diamond free license can be generated immediately upon request from the Lattice website.
It provides free access to many popular Lattice devices such as the MachXO2 and Platform Manager families.
It also fully enables Synopsys Synplify Pro for Lattice synthesis as well as the Aldec Lattice Edition II mixed-language simulator.
Priced at $895 per year, the Lattice Diamond subscription license includes all Lattice FPGAs including the LatticeECP3 FPGA family.
iCEcube2 software for Windows Operating System can be downloaded from the Lattice website, and is fully enabled at no cost with the Lattice Diamond free license.