Mentor Graphics, Altera Partners for PCI Express Reference Design

2/19/2003 - Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) and Altera Corp. (Nasdaq: ALTR) announced a reference design to accelerate the development of applications based on PCI ExpressTM serial interconnect technology. The design, which comprises a configurable PCI Express IP core and in-circuit emulation verification solution from Mentor Graphics®, and a Stratix-based PCI card from Altera, is being demonstrated in the PCI Express Pavilion, Booth 109, at the Intel Developer Forum.

The Mentor Graphics board illustrates a PCI to PCI Express Bridge application running at full speed in an Altera Stratix PLD- based PCI card. The system is designed to connect to Mentor Graphics' VStationTM hardware emulation platform via a parallel interface, and implements a back-to-back bridge that converts PCI through to PCI Express Protocol and back to PCI. Mentor Graphics will show a PC driving a PCI graphics card through this arrangement and will demonstrate successful signal transmission of the PCI Express protocol via an Agilent 16702B Logic Analyzer.

"Altera was a key partner in the development of the Mentor Graphics PCI Express reference design," said Michael Kaskowitz, general manager of the Mentor Graphics Intellectual Property (IP) division. "Altera's Stratix FPGA fabric and development systems provided the ideal platform for our PCI Express core development. Through this partnership, our configurable PCI Express core combined with the 2.5 GHz tranceivers in Altera's Stratix GX FPGAs represent the industry's first PCI Express solution which incorporates which incorporates updates from the 264-page PCI Express Base Specification Errata."

"We're finding the demands of emerging computing and communications platforms are driving the need for much greater internal system bandwidth," said Craig Lytle, vice president of Altera's IP Business Unit. "Mentor Graphics has a clear leadership position as a provider for PCI Express IP. With an unsurpassed reputation as an IP developer, we enthusiastically entrust Mentor Graphics to provide PCI Express as part of their large portfolio of optimized FPGA cores as a means of satisfying our customers' wide range of requirements."

The Challenge of Successful PCI Express Implementation
For many designers, new standards are difficult to implement because of the lack of verified subsystems. The reference design from Mentor accelerates PCI Express-based system design, provides a PCI Express test environment and minimizes design risk, enabling these designers to focus more resources on product differentiation. By using the PCI to PCI Express feature of the demonstrator boards, customers can now validate PCI Express using today's PCI based computers.

PCI Express Verification Solution
By working with Mentor emulation solution experts, the PCI Express reference design has been engineered to run with Mentor's VStation and CelaroTM emulation platforms. Since actual PCI Express systems do not exist, designers must perform lengthy verification checks in software and compare results against the paper specification. Mentor accelerates this process by a million times by connecting the customer's SoC design to PCI or future PCI Express systems through the Speed-BridgeTM capability of the reference design. This high performance, in-circuit emulation environment is essential for comprehensively testing designs with PCI Express interfaces. By solving the hardware prototyping challenge, Mentor is mitigating the schedule and development risk associated with developing a PCI Express verification solution.

Mentor is the only company today providing the complete Design and Emulation Verification solution for PCI Express.

About PCI Express
PCI Express is quickly emerging as the high-speed interconnect standard for applications in next generation computing, server, storage and communications products. The PCI Express architecture is upward compatible with the PCI usage model and software interfaces for investment protection and smooth development migration. However, PCI Express introduces a number of new features such as hot swapping, power saving modes, traffic management capabilities and scaleable bandwidth from 250MB/s per lane in each direction to 16G/ps in a 32-lane configuration.

About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of about $600 million and employs approximately 3,500 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777; Silicon Valley headquarters are located at 1001 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, California 95131-2314. World Wide Web site:

Mentor Graphics is a registered trademark and Inventra, Celaro and VStation are trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation.

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