Products in the headlines

Products in the headlinesSteve Bush takes a look at some of the products that will be getting everyone excited at the Silicon Design Show, in Olympia 2
Direct Insight is staging the UKrelease release of a family of device programmers which start priced below ?1,000.
The Data I/O Chipwriter programmers support commonly used devices and provide device-specific adaptors for surface-mount packages. Both the ?695 ChipWriter and the ?1,095 ChipWriter Portable offer PC-based operation, and support memory, microcontroller and logic devices.
In addition, the ChipWriter Portable can be used as a stand-alone unit.
The ChipWriter is a PC-based, universal programmer with a 48-pin DIP socket. It has a built in ROM/RAM emulator option and can be operated from a battery for remote use with a laptop computer.
The ChipWriter Portable weighs 0.9 kg and is a battery-operable system with a built-in 30 button keypad and 40 x 2 LCD display so that all program, read, and verify functions can be handled without a PC. ChipWriter Portable can also run from line voltage and interface to a PC via a standard parallel or serial port.
Direct Insight claims that many low-cost programmers only program and verify devices at 5V. The ChipWriters provide full program and verify support for 3V and 5 V devices, as well as for future devices requiring programming voltages as low as 1.8 volts. Free on-line operating software and algorithm updates are available from Data I/O’s BBS or Worldwide Web site at any time.
Mentor Graphics is launch a suite of four high speed PCB design tools at the 1997 Silicon Design Show and announcing Version 3.0 of its Renoir graphical HDL entry tool.
Following on from Mentor Graphics’ acquisition of Interconnectix, its ‘interconnect synthesis’ (IS) products (see picture) are now being launched in the UK. The IS products take a high-level electrical abstraction of interconnect in terms of timing and signal purity specifications and generate a detailed and implementable physical representation that matches the electrical description.
The four IS product modules are: a hierarchical timing and thermal-driven floorplanner, a physical analysis engine, a spread sheet-based rules engine, and a synthesiser/intelligent router. At the core of the system is a proprietary technology that allows for analysis, rules, and layout/synthesis engines to work in unison to perform interconnect synthesis. The internal data models comprise geometrical and analytical data for the representation of objects for routing of interconnects, along with quick access to geometry data for analysis.
The other launch, version 3.0 of Renoir, offers additional functions for the graphical HDL entry tool that handles both VHDL and Verilog.
Enhancements in version 3.0 of Renoir include HDL2Graphics, a conversion capability that can be used to read in VHDL, Verilog (or mixed VHDL and Verilog) text code and automatically create a structured graphical design.
A Renoir design library is automatically created with all structure, package references, leaf and mid-level code interpreted as blocks and components. Mentor claims that it is the only product that can handle HDL designs utilising the full VHDL IEEE 1987 & 93 standards, full IEEE Verilog standard or a mix of VHDL & Verilog.
Renoir also now includes the industry standard RCS (Revision Control System) for check in, check out, locking version and history. This allows any library, design unit, module or view to be placed under full version control. Combined with the existing capability of multiple views per design unit.
Another feature that comes with version 3.0 is OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) support. This allows you to drag and drop any Renoir diagram right into any OLE application, e.g. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Notepad etc.
Version 3.0 demo disks will be available on the Mentor Graphics stand.
VeriBest, supplier of Windows NT-based EDA products, will be showing three PCB tools for the first time in the UK. Among the linked set is an analyser which allows designers to perform ‘what if’ trials on the combined logical and physical performance of signals on a partially laid out PCB.
As PCB board speeds cross the 50MHz threshold and complexity increases, there is an ever greater need for engineers to control the conceptual and verification stages of a design to ensure consistency and optimal signal integrity, said VeriBest spokesman Brian Andrews.
It is called Signal Vision and adds the characteristics and geometry of the PCB to the signal model and is said to allow experimentation with factors like layer stack orders and trace shapes to more realistically assess final performance and give an idea of what can be expected if design rules have to be broken.
The other two packages of the set are: PCB planned and PCB Viewer.

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