> -----Original Message-----
> From: Juha Kuusama [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 12:16 AM
> To: Protel EDA Forum
> Subject: Re: [PEDA] Would it not be nice?
> Harry Lemmens wrote:
> >...
> > As someone has stated, Xilinx do indeed give away a VERY 
> GOOD design 
> >suite that gets you easily to several hundred k gates, and 
> covers the 
> >entire design very nicely.

Maybe they are good now, but they were pretty bad just a few years ago.

> As does Altera. I don't know the others, but it is probably 
> safe to assume that the smaller players in the FPGA market 
> provide tools for their devices as well. Both Xilinx and 
> Altera provide processor soft cores also, so the whole point 
> of Nexar kind of escapes me(*). 

It allows you to make changes in the sch, in the fpga, and on the PCB and
keep it all in check. How many times have you made a change in one and
forgot to update the other two?? Fortunately with FPGAs in a design, you can
often 'fix' it inside the FPGA, but it's still a tedious process keeping
track of all three areas...with the FPGA tools built in, it is should be

> I would much prefer seeing 
> Protel get the core stuff done brilliantly, such as gate/pin 
> swapping, autorouting and my pet peeve, component 
> placement(**). For FPGA stuff, it would be very sufficient to 
> have seamless integration to the vendor tools.


> I share the doubts that Altium can't be able to keep up with 
> the industry with one integrated tool. Nexar looks cool, but 
> it has very limited set of design blocks, only a few 8 bit 
> processors and no Verilog support. 

You don't have to use ANY of their design block. You can roll your own from
the start, but after reading your next bit of text, it doesn't seem that you
do roll your own. So are you buying someone's HDL source and integrating it
into the Xilinx tool chain? You can do the same here.

> As Harry pointed out, the 
> FPGA field moves fast. A few years back it was schematics, 
> yesterday it was VHDL/Verilog, to day it is design re-use. As 
> an example, we are doing a system that has a 32-bit 
> processor, multimaster bus, DDR memory interface, video 
> converter and serial, parallel, network and USB interfaces 
> integrated on an FPGA. 
> Guess how many of these functions was designed in-house. 
> Right, none. It will be very hard for a relatively small 
> company to keep up. On the other hand, Altium has a key 
> position to tie the toolchain together. I just don't think 
> the key is doing it all in-house.
> *: Of course, Nexar looks very cool from investors point of 
> view, so I kind of do see the point...
> **: I still find it pathetic that no software I know of 
> properly understands the most common electronic component, 
> the bypass capacitor. 
> If Altium want to really increase their market share, they 
> would design something like the this (which, by the way, is 
> far easier than any functionality that Nexar brings in): Let 
> me define a few bypass schemes, like regular bypass cap, 
> which connects from the supply line to the cap to the power 
> pin. In this order, to the specified pin, within specified 
> distance - although equivalent at the netlist level, no other scheme
> works: a nearby control pin tied high does no good, nor does 
> a bypass cap away from the chip. Also, a more sensitive pin 
> might need something like a ferrite bead, 10u, 100n, supply 
> pin; again in this order. Why can't I just assign bypass 
> schemes to supply pins and have the computer to make the 
> connections, collect the caps to a separate sheet (in order 
> not to clutter the main sheet) but still show which caps 
> belong to which pin), have the computer place the caps 
> correctly by the chips and group them together (so that if I 
> move the chip, the caps move as well) and finally, have the 
> router to fanout/route these correctly (as noted above). For 
> a digital designer, this would be the single biggest 
> productivity boost I can imagine after a really great 
> autorouter. If Altium would provide these, most people would 
> switch, company policies allowing!

Someone else already commented here...

> Juha Kuusama
> Kuusama Design

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