Sequence Speeds Development of NVIDIA Graphics Processors

5/16/2003 - Faced with the need to create a series of the world's most advanced graphics chipsets, and meet time to market deadlines, NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) revved up its design flow with Sequence's PhysicalStudioTM, successfully employed in six tapeouts so far. After an extensive review, the Sequence tool was chosen for its ability to readily and accurately optimize signal integrity (SI) and timing in very large, complex chips.

The GeForceTM FX 5800 Ultra GPU, the top-of-the-line processor in the company’s GeForce FX series, incorporates numerous out-of-this-world features such as real-time rendering, and posed a number of design challenges for NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions.

“The 5800 was an unprecedented effort,” according to NVIDIA’s Joe Greco, vice president of engineering. “The GPU (graphics processing unit) is comprised of 130 million transistors, built on a 130 nanometer process, and runs at 500MHz. We are pushing the design and performance metrics beyond previous limits by relying on world-class tools from companies like Sequence.”

One of the most difficult tasks facing Greco’s team was signal integrity and timing closure. “Physical Studio provides a very accurate prediction of the timing impacts of coupling, and a convergent and minimal impact method of fixing these effects.”

“If NVIDIA, a leader in the worldwide fabless market, is concerned with signal integrity, then everyone should be,” said Sequence president and CEO, Vic Kulkarni. “SI is becoming an increasingly critical challenge as the performance frequency of designs goes up, transistor counts multiply, processes shrink and introduce their own nuances, and design cycles are compressed to satisfy time-to-market pressures. We are honored to be assisting NVIDIA with addressing the challenges of nanometer design.”

Recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the chips that will “change your life,” the NVIDIA GeForce FX GPU is the industry's first GPU to deliver real-time, cinematic quality graphics and special effects on the desktop PC. Featuring the NVIDIA CineFxTM engine, and support for high-level programming languages such as Cg, the GeForce FX GPU delivers visual effects on par with the hottest motion pictures. Packing nearly twice the number of transistors as previous NVIDIA GPUs, the GeForce FX GPU also utilizes the industry's most advanced 130 nanometer manufacturing process, enabling developers to create compelling content of unrivaled beauty, running at unmatched speeds.

Concurrent View Needed
There are four major SoC design-closure issues: timing, signal integrity, power, and clock. All are interdependent, necessitating a concurrent view resolve them. Resolving them calls for a blend of extraction, timing analysis, signal-integrity analysis, and optimization in a single engine. Failure to account for these effects concurrently, inevitably leads to diminished performance, and increased time to market.

PhysicalStudio optimizes chip timing and signal integrity issues concurrently, both before and after routing. It is fully interoperable with industry-standard routing tools, permitting existing physical design flows to reach fast, predictable design closure in silicon geometries below 180 nanometers.

About PhysicalStudio
PhysicalStudio allows system-on-chip designers to:

By unifying optimization after placement and post-route optimization into a single engine, the product ensures that every net in a design is correctly driven and all timing and signal integrity violations are eliminated. PhysicalStudio operates on large, hierarchical designs with varying abstractions at the top-level such as register-bounded blocks, STAMP, LIB and CLF.

NVIDIA Corporation is a visual computing technology and market leader dedicated to creating products that enhance the interactive experience on consumer and professional computing platforms. Its graphics and communications processors have broad market reach and are incorporated into a wide variety of computing platforms, including consumer digital-media PCs, enterprise PCs, professional workstations, digital content creation systems, notebook PCs, military navigation systems and video games consoles. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and employs more than 1,400 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

About Sequence
Sequence Design, Inc., the SoC Design Closure CompanySM, enables system-on-chip designers to bring higher-performance and lower-power integrated circuits quickly to fabrication. Sequence’s power and signal integrity software give its more than 100 customers the competitive advantage they need to excel in aggressive technology markets, despite demanding complexity and time-to-market issues of nanometer design.

Sequence has worldwide development and field service operations. The company was recently named by Reed Electronics as one of the top 50 companies to watch in the electronics industry. Sequence is privately held. Sequence is a member of Cadence Design Systems’ Connections and Mentor Graphics’ Open Door partnership programs. Additional information is available at

NVIDIA and GEFORCE are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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