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Mentor lays out road map to emulate 15billion gate devices

Mentor Graphics has launched Veloce StratoM, the first element in what it says is its third generation emulation platform. The company has also unveiled a five year road map for Strato, something it says it hasn’t done before.

StratoM, which is currently being used by leading customers, can emulate designs of up to 2.5billion gates when fully loaded. The StratoM box can accommodate 64 Advanced Verification Boards and will consume 50kW when fully equipped. Capacity can be increased by joining boxes together using Veloce Strato link, to a maximum of 15bn gates. While StratoM is announced now, other hardware introductions will be staggered over the next five years.

Jean-Marie Brunet, pictured, senior director of marketing for Mentor’s emulation division, explained the need for the new range. “In five years or so, we will be seeing devices with 15bn gates. Today, the largest devices – such as CPUs, GPUs and network processors – have up to 2bn gates, so emulation capacity will have to increase by a factor of 10 and anything we announce today must scale to that target.”

Brunet claims Strato represents the largest effective capacity of any emulation system, with productivity improvements including an x5 improvement in throughput, an x10 improvement in ‘time to visibility’ and a threefold improvement in compilation time.

“It also has the lowest cost of ownership,” he contended. “That might seem trivial, but it’s important. It’s not just about how much the box costs, it’s also about how many engineers are needed, the power consumption and so on.” The previous model had a capacity of 1bn gates, but used the same amount of power.

Power efficiency is said to have been improved by new chips made on an advanced process. “It’s not FPGA based,” he asserted. “No FPGA based system can claim a 100% success rate, but whatever you put into this system will compile.”

Brunet wouldn’t give any details of Strato Link, but noted that communication between boxes will use optical connections, providing an x10 boost. “By the time the market will need to verify 15bn gate devices, we will have architected Strato Link differently, so there may not be the need for so many boxes,” he said.

Graham Pitcher

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