Actel Enables Faster Timing Closure with Enhanced Libero IDE

2/4/2004 - Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced it has enhanced its LiberoTM integrated design environment (IDE) to provide customers with faster timing closure when using the company's successful flash-based ProASICPLUS field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). With tighter integration between the Timer engine and timing-driven place and route, the Libero v5.2 IDE offers push-button results that often meet or exceed customer requirements, thereby reducing the number of design iterations required to achieve timing closure. Further, Actel's Libero v5.2 IDE, together with the enhanced Magma PALACETM v1.1 physical synthesis software, enables designers using ProASICPLUS FPGAs to achieve an average performance boost of 20 percent. Other new features of the Libero IDE include the addition of Actel's ChainBuilder software, which enables programming or testing of Actel's ProASICPLUS FPGAs when included in a daisy chain of devices, and support for the Linux Red Hat 7.1 platform for Actel's Designer physical design tool suite within the Libero IDE.

"As FPGA designs grow in size and complexity, customers often face extreme challenges in obtaining timing closure. Using Actel's Libero v5.2 IDE along with Magma's PALACE v1.1 physical synthesis software, designers can often quickly and easily realize timing closure without tweaking and reiterating, which reduces design costs and design cycles," said Saloni Howard-Sarin, director of tools marketing at Actel.

Howard-Sarin continued, "In line with our commitment to deliver best-in-class tools to our customers, we are also pleased to offer the new ChainBuilder tool within Libero to enable designers to automate and simplify a formerly cumbersome and error-prone manual identification process. And with Actel Designer software available on the Linux RedHat 7.1 platform, we expect that a broader base of the worldwide design community will be able to migrate to Actel's successful ProASICPLUS FPGAs."

Enhancements to Actel Libero IDE
The tighter integration between the Timer engine and timing-driven place and route gives higher priority to user constraints, increasing designer control over place and route to help converge on timing requirements. Further, new improvements to Actel's routing algorithms also contribute to the performance improvements for ProASICPLUS devices. Additionally, Magma's PALACE physical synthesis software has also been enhanced to provide an additional 10 percent performance improvement on average for the ProASICPLUS devices. Integrated with Actel's Libero IDE, the simple-to-use PALACE tool accepts an interpreted netlist and makes optimized placement decisions based on constraints and detailed design and interconnect modeling.

Behrooz Zahiri, director of marketing, Magma Design Automation, said, "Actel's ProASICPLUS FPGAs represent the leading edge of programmable logic design, both in features and performance. We are pleased to equip our mutual customers with a physical synthesis tool that helps to deliver the performance and quality of results needed for their complex FPGA designs. To date, Magma and Actel have enabled designers to realize a cumulative 25-30 percent performance improvement when using PALACE on Actel's ProASICPLUS FPGAs."

In the past, developers have had to manually identify devices and their order within a chain. Now, the Libero and Designer tool suites feature Actel's ChainBuilder software, which allows for the creation of a concatenated STAPL file from a graphical user interface. A programmer, such as Actel's FlashPro, can then utilize the file to program or test a daisy chain of FPGAs, custom integrated circuits (ICs), microcontrollers and/or microprocessors. Additionally, with ChainBuilder, specific Actel FPGAs can be isolated from other FPGAs, both Actel and non-Actel devices, and programmed individually or in parallel via a common header attached to the JTAG chain.

Companies are adopting Linux in an increasingly open-source world. To broaden its platform support for its tool suites, Actel is now supporting Designer software on Linux Red Hat 7.1. Actel plans to provide support for additional Linux platforms over the next year.

To improve ease of use and reduce development time, especially for designers who are less familiar with the Libero software, Actel has added a new Project Manager Graphical Interactive Flow Window to make the design flow more intuitive and provide a step-by-step guide through the design process.

About the Libero Integrated Design Environment
Actel's Libero v5.2 IDE offers the latest and best-in-class tools from EDA partners Mentor Graphics, SynaptiCAD, Synplicity and Magma Design Automation, as well as custom developed tools from Actel, integrated into a single FPGA development package. Actel offers one-stop shopping for its customer's EDA tool needs by means of a powerful design manager that keeps track of design files and seamlessly manages the interoperability issues that typically arise when using tools from different vendors. The Libero tool suite also supports mixed-mode design entry input, giving designers the choice of mixing either high-level VHDL or Verilog HDL language blocks with schematic modules within a design.

Pricing and Availability
The Actel Libero v5.2 IDE is available in mid-February in four editions: Platinum PS (physical synthesis), Platinum, Gold and Silver. Libero Silver may be used by qualified designers for one year free of charge via the Actel Web site. Pricing for the Platinum PS version, including the Actel edition of Magma's PALACE tool, begins at $3495 for a one-year license. An evaluation version of Libero Platinum PS may be used by qualified designers for 45 days free of charge. Pricing for Libero Platinum and Libero Gold is $2495 and $595, respectively. A one-year standalone license for the PALACE software for use with Actel's Designer is available from Actel for $1795. For further information about pricing and availability, please contact Actel.

About Actel
Actel Corporation is a supplier of innovative programmable logic solutions, including field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) based on antifuse and flash technologies, high-performance intellectual property (IP) cores, software development tools and design services, targeted for the high-speed communications, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) replacement and radiation-tolerant markets. Founded in 1985, Actel employs more than 500 people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, CA, 94043-4655. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet:

The Actel name and logo, Libero and Designer are trademarks of Actel Corporation.

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