XtremePCB Enables Multiple PCB Designers to Work Simultaneously

11/1/2004 - Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) announced XtremePCBTM, the first product in a series of printed circuit board (PCB) design solutions using a technology that allows multiple members of a PCB design team to work simultaneously on a design from a single database on a global network, whether they are in the same office or dispersed all over the world. The first product to use new Mentor Graphics® patented technology, XtremePCB addresses the layout portion of the design flow. It allows electronic companies to significantly reduce their design cycle time, to meet today's accelerated time-to-market demands.

"XtremePCB allowed us to have two designers working simultaneously on the design of a complex board and reduce our layout cycle time by 40 to 50 percent," said Ian McCormick, CAD manager, Radstone Technologies. "The flexibility and ease of implementation of this new method also allows me to better manage my CAD department resources."

"Previous design collaboration methodologies required lengthy and error prone sessions to resynchronize parallel efforts of PCB design," said Henry Potts, vice president and general manager, System Design Division, Mentor Graphics. "With XtremePCB, Mentor has answered a challenge posed by our customers who asked for a tool that allowed simultaneous changes from multiple team members. For our customers with aggressive time-to-market goals and either large, global design teams or technology specialized design resources, XtremePCB enables real-time, automated feedback for complex, PCB designs incorporating diverse design technologies."

A New Paradigm for Simultaneous PCB Design
Previous team design methods utilize a "split and join" approach in which designers work concurrently on the PCB, but in their own pre-defined partition and without the ability to view each other's edits in real-time. Even a simple design change made in a single partition could affect the entire board and cause the design to first be re-assembled and then re-partitioned before the team can continue. As a result, engineering change orders (ECOs) become an all too frequent liability, occurring many times throughout the design process. There are also other inherent limitations when splitting the design, such as dealing with boundaries, moving parts from one area to another, or performing drafting functions on the whole design.

XtremePCB overcomes these limitations by allowing every designer to work on the entire board if desired, making partitioning unnecessary. With XtremePCB, users are immediately up and running because the Xtreme session runs in the background of a designer's Mentor Board Station® RE or ExpeditionTM layout tools. Any member of the design team can start a design session or users can join the session at any time. The design is first loaded on the server and when a user joins the session, the most current state of the design is automatically downloaded onto the user's workstation, allowing them to utilize the full processing power of their machine. When a user joins a design session, a "handle" is defined which may be displayed attached to the cursor for designer identification purposes.

Synchronization is done automatically and each designer can see all other edits in real-time. The session server provides a methodology to protect users from timing collisions and edit conflicts through selection priority and design rule checking (DRC).

Additionally, team members may temporarily lock down objects by creating protected areas, use standard networking methods to verbally interact with team members via headsets, or display "force fields" around the cursor indicating where each designer is working. When a significant change to the design is made that affects the other Xtreme clients, a notification is sent to all the other clients allowing them to accept or reject the change.

XtremePCB is compatible with a variety of network environments, including symmetrical multiple processors (SMP), local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).

Design Process Benefits
Aside from providing significant reduction in design cycle time, XtremePCB offers a unique benefit to a company's design process. With XtremePCB users may enter and exit designs at will, allowing designers to better utilize their time on projects as well as enable companies to take better advantage of a designer's singular expertise. Before, when a digital PCB needed a designer to add a small analog section, the design would be halted, while the analog portion was placed on the PCB. But with XtremePCB, the analog designer can enter the session when required, complete the necessary design changes and then exit without interrupting the other designers working on other parts of the board. This flexibility also frees up designers to work on multiple projects at once, moving from the more urgent projects to the less urgent projects as they wish.

Pricing and Availability
XtremePCB is available immediately as an optional add-on to Board Station RE or Expedition. Pricing starts at $50,000 for the Xtreme Session server and pricing for each XtremePCB client seat starts at $15,000 per license. More information is available at www.mentor.com/xtremepcb or by calling 800-547-3000.

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: http://www.mentor.com/.

Mentor Graphics and Board Station are registered trademarks and Expedition and XtremePCB are trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation.

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