Xilinx, Ansoft Team for Faster, Easier High-Speed PCB and Backplane Design

10/27/2004 - Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) and Ansoft Corp. (NASDAQ: ANST) announced a new Gigabit Interconnect Design Kit that allows customers to perform extremely accurate “what if” analyses on high-speed printed circuit board (PCB) and backplane designs. Powered with Virtex-II ProTM X series FPGAs from Xilinx, the kit enables engineers to anticipate problems early in the design phase and predict the quality of a signal, thereby significantly minimizing lab debug times and costly board respins.

“The Xilinx modular FPGA technology combined with Ansoft’s simulation expertise is required for today’s devices with serial I/O speeds up to 10 Gbps,” said Dr. Larry Williams, director, Business Development at Ansoft. “Together, Xilinx and Ansoft are leading the industry in realizing right-the-first-time, high-speed designs.”

According to Ed McGettigan, director, APD Systems Engineering at Xilinx, “The growing popularity of FPGA platform solutions with multi-gigabit I/O functionality has led to architectures that place greater demands on PCB designs. Extremely accurate signal-integrity design for proper system operation is required. The ‘what-if’ analyses from Ansoft provide an extra edge relative to simulating all circuit behavior, ensuring that our customers are making the right decisions early in the design process.”

Significant signal degradation occurs after passing through the transmission path, including loss of signal amplitude, reduction of signal rise time and a spreading at the zero crossings. Given this backdrop, it is imperative to accurately model the transmission path when designing a high-performance, high-speed, serial interconnect system to ensure optimal performance.

Xilinx teamed with Ansoft to provide methods and guidelines for modeling high-speed interconnect. Accurate electrical models that account for the physical effects have been created for the Xilinx Virtex-II Pro X IC package, microstrip and stripline transmission lines, connectors and circuit board via using electromagnetic-field simulation. The full channel response—from the integrated circuit through the package, onto the board and out the connector—was computed using Ansoft’s NexximTM, DesignerSITM and HFSSTM for circuit, system and electromagnetic simulation.

The Gigabit Interconnect Design Kit is based on the Xilinx MK322 Platform, the primary circuit board used for the electrical evaluation and characterization of the RocketIOTM X high-speed serial multi-gigabit transceivers in Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs. The design kit is a virtual evaluation board that allows PCB and backplane designers to simulate their specific design and requirements. Because all critical variables are parameterized, use of the design kit enables simulation of topologies that are different from that on the MK322 board. Combined with the Virtex-II Pro X driver and receiver models—with programmable pre-emphasis levels, voltage swing and receive side equalization—this approach allows for complete virtual prototyping of the individual channels in very-high-data-rate systems. The kit currently supports Xilinx Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs and is scaleable to support Virtex-4TM FPGAs. Parameterized models associated with this effort have been assembled into the design kit and are available on www.gigabitbackplanedesign.com along with associated presentations and white paper.

About Xilinx Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs
Xilinx Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs incorporate up to 20 RocketIO multi-gigabit transceivers, supporting operating ranges of 2.488 Gbps to 10.3125 Gbps per channel. Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs are the first programmable ICs that can directly drive optical transceiver OC-48 SONET compliant systems and support SONET implementation for OC-192 data rates and above. Virtex-II Pro X FPGAs also enable new applications, which require multiple high-speed serial channels each running in speeds up to 10.3125 Gbps, including popular bandwidth nodes such as 4.25 Gbps, 5 Gbps, and 6 Gbps. The 10 Gbps transceivers, when used in multiples, support effective bandwidths through the FPGA of more than 200 Gbps.

About Virtex-4 FPGAs
Enabled by the revolutionary ASMBL (Advanced Silicon Modular Block) architecture, Virtex-4 FPGAs deliver more options than any other FPGA family available today. With more than 100 technical innovations, the Virtex-4 family consists of 17 devices and three domain-optimized platforms: Virtex-4 LX FPGAs for logic-intensive designs, Virtex-4 SX FPGAs for high-performance signal processing, and Virtex-4 FX FPGAs for high-speed serial connectivity and embedded processing. A multi-platform approach makes it possible for customers to select the optimal mix of resources for their application to achieve the highest functionality and performance at the lowest cost.

Virtex-4 FX platform devices embed up to two 32-bit RISC PowerPCTM processors delivering in excess of 1300 Dhrystone MIPS along with up to four integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet MAC cores for high-performance embedded processing applications. A new Auxiliary Processor Unit (APU) provides an intimate connection between the processors and the FPGA hardware resources – enabling a new class of flexible yet extremely high-performance integrated software/hardware designs. FX platform devices also include up to 24 RocketIO high-speed serial transceivers supporting the industry’s widest performance range of 622 Mbps to 11.1 Gbps for industry-leading levels of high-speed serial performance. All key high-speed serial performance levels are supported including 10.3125, 8.5, 6.25, 4.25, 3.125, 2.5, 1.25 and 0.622 Gbps.

About Ansoft
Ansoft is a leading developer of high-performance electronic design automation (EDA) software. Engineers use Ansoft software to design state-of-the-art electronic products, such as cellular phones, Internet-access devices, broadband networking components and systems, integrated circuits (ICs), printed circuit boards (PCBs), automotive electronic systems and power electronics. Ansoft markets its products worldwide through its own direct sales force and has comprehensive customer-support and training offices throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.ansoft.com.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit www.xilinx.com.

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