Mentor Reduces Area Utilization in FPGAs with Latest Precision Synthesis

10/8/2004 - Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT), announced key enhancements in the new release of its Precision® Synthesis tool suite. The latest version includes "Front End 2004," a new synthesis option that reduces area utilization in FPGAs, supports a broad range of industry standard languages, and offers the most complete implementation of Verilog 2001 compared to any synthesis tool on the market. The tool suite now adds the Virtex-4 family of FPGAs from Xilinx to the extensive list of devices it already supports.

"Our new Front End 2004 is based on mature, industry-leading technology from Mentor Graphics and ensures maximum compatibility with products such as the ModelSim® tool," said Ingo Schaefer, director of engineering, Design Creation and Synthesis Division, Mentor Graphics. "This robust technology delivers significant benefits, such as improved inferencing for DSP and RAM structures. In addition, for most FPGA designs, using Front End 2004 typically improves area utilization by 6-8 percent over prior Precision Synthesis releases, with some designs up to 50 percent smaller."

By taking advantage of tighter compatibility between the Precision Synthesis tool suite and industry-leading simulation and verification tools, designers can improve their productivity using the tools they are already familiar with in their design flows. In addition, the enhanced cross-probing feature in the Precision Synthesis tool suite speeds design analysis and throughput by helping designers make decisions quickly and interactively on specific architectural improvements. The tool also delivers essential gated clock support for engineers involved in ASIC prototyping.

"The new Precision Synthesis release is yet another example of our commitment to all of our professional system design customers tackling high-complexity FPGAs," said Simon Bloch, general manager, Design Creation and Synthesis Division, Mentor Graphics. "Our improvements in terms of design analysis capabilities, overall quality of results and wider device support, coupled with the Precision Synthesis tool suite's established strength as a mature, vendor-independent solution delivers major productivity benefits for the entire FPGA design community."

The Precision Synthesis tool suite integrates logical (Precision RTL) and physical (Precision Physical) synthesis techniques to define a new approach to complex FPGA design. Built on a unified data model, it allows designers to cross-probe between multiple views, giving users added control when analyzing a design. The intuitive debug environment includes an incremental timing analysis tool that allows companies to solve next-generation FPGA implementation and timing challenges, resulting in shorter design cycles and significantly higher performance.

Industry-wide FPGA Device Vendor Support
"Delivering a unique blend of nonvolatility and re-programmability, our ProASIC Plus devices have experienced tremendous success and have become Actel's fastest ramping FPGA family ever," said Saloni Howard-Sarin, director of antifuse and tools marketing, Actel. "Precision Synthesis continues to deliver increased quality of results for designers using our ProASIC Plus FPGAs. With its solid synthesis performance, the 2004b release will help our customers realize the high levels of performance, security and reliability they have come to expect from our flash-based devices."

"By supporting the full range of Altera devices, from the low-cost Max II and Cyclone II families to the high-performance Stratix II Altera devices, the Precision Synthesis 2004b release presents a complete solution to a broad spectrum of our customers, from designers targeting high-volume consumer applications to those tackling high-performance systems such as digital signal processing," said James Smith, director of EDA Partnerships, Altera.

"Solving next-generation programmable logic design challenges requires closer partnership between the EDA community and device vendors," said Tim Schnettler, director of design tools marketing, Lattice Semiconductor. "We are actively working with Mentor Graphics to provide support for Lattice's next-generation devices."

"Mentor Graphics is a key technology solutions provider for FPGA users and having their broad support is very important for our customers. We have closely collaborated with Mentor Graphics in testing efforts over the past year and are confident that the Precision Synthesis 2004b release will enable designers to fully realize the immense potential offered by Xilinx devices," said Steve Lass, director of software product marketing for Xilinx.

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 $675 million and employs approximately 3,800 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, Precision, and ModelSim are registered trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation.

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