Massive visibility is the key to successful FPGA prototyping validation

FPGA prototyping with massive visibility is the key to successful validation

FPGA prototyping – an essential step of ASIC validation

FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) is a key technology for the prototyping of silicon chips and IPs. FPGA use similar silicon processes and is configured on basis of similar hardware description languages as ASIC, IP and SoC. They are used to prototype chips before the actual silicon is available together with the ability to reconfigure them indefinitely.

How does Exostiv Blade impact FPGA Prototyping?

Exostiv Blade boosts FPGA prototypes' visibility expressed as number of nodes

Exostiv Blade boosts FPGA prototypes' visibility expressed as number of cycles

There are 2 fundamental reasons to use a FPGA prototype:

  • First, only a prototype places the IP or the ASIC into a realistic I/O and speed environment. No other technique comes as close to the same degree of realism as they rely on models and theorical rules – which would eventually only imperfectly match reality.
  • Second, only FPGA prototypes provide a way to realistically reach enough cycles in service in a reasonable time, which allow signing off the target IP or ASIC with confidence.
Among techniques used for IP and ASIC validation FPGA prototyping is the fastest and the most realistic.

Visibility is the key to efficient FPGA prototyping

‘Visibility’ is the set of features that allow the validation engineer look inside the chip or the IP in operation. For a prototype, it consists in capturing details about data processing and transfers as they happen inside the target system running in environment.

Visibility has got multiple dimensions and is often expressed in number of nodes (‘width’) over time (‘depth’).

Unlike competing techniques used for the validation of IP and ASIC prototypes usually demonstrate poor visibility performance (see for instance this reference, dating back from a while ago, showing that this issue has to be revisited…).

Exostiv Labs adds massive and actionable visibility to all FPGA prototypes

Exostiv Labs is the leader in EDA tools that add visibility to FPGA prototypes. We instrument FPGAs to enable the capture of massive actionable data from inside the prototype. Exostiv Labs enhances the capabilities of commercial and custom FPGA prototyping boards to go to production with high quality debugged and tested IP and ASIC / SoC.

The charts above show the effect of adding massive visibility to FPGA prototypes and how this leads to better positioning this technique relative to complementaty techniques like simulation and emulation.

Exostiv Labs’ products provide numerous benefits:

  • Better enterprise-level test infrastructure scalability & workload management;
  • Unmatched visibility on all FPGA platforms;
  • Better debug to pre-production tests with a common infrastructure;
  • Fast test execution in environment and productive analysis.

Thank you for reading.

– Frederic.