Design capture platform expanded

An Altium product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Nov 12, 2004

Altium will be expanding the HDL capabilities of it's Nexar FPGA-based digital design system with the introduction of support for Verilog.

Altium a developer of Windows-based electronics design software, will be expanding the HDL capabilities of it's Nexar FPGA-based digital design system with the introduction of support for Verilog.

The upcoming Service Pack 2 for Altium's DXP 2004 design systems, which includes updates for Nexar and the Protel board-level design system, will add syntax-aware code editing, parsing and compilation support for Verilog to Altium's feature-rich design capture system.

This will allow engineers to use any combination of block diagram, VHDL and Verilog to capture circuit hardware for FPGA implementation.

At this stage, engineers wishing to process Verilog designs through HDL simulation and synthesis will need third-party simulation and synthesis engines, as the inbuilt DXP 2004 engines currently support VHDL only.

This is easily done within the DXP platform, which provides transparent interfacing to the ModelSim and ActiveHDL simulators and Synplicity, Xilinx XST and Altera Quartus synthesis engines.

When an external engine is selected, full Verilog design flows can be carried out within the DXP 2004 environment.

Altium plans to upgrade its DXP synthesis and simulation engines with full Verilog support in subsequent service packs.

The addition of Verilog support to Nexar will expand the design system's reach into existing FPGA markets, and allow all FPGA designers access to Nexar's unique environment for FPGA-based systems development.

Nexar allows the interactive development of complete systems, including processor-based designs, on an FPGA platform.

The Nexar design methodology - LiveDesign - enables real-time communication with active devices in the circuit, such as processor cores and virtual instruments, that are running inside the target FPGA.

Along with Altium's NanoBoard, a versatile FPGA development board that features swappable target devices housed on removable daughter boards, Nexar allows interactive, 'live' development and debugging of systems without the need for simulation at the system level, significantly reducing system development time.

"The addition of Verilog strengthens Nexar's position as a universal design system for FPGA-based systems development," said Nick Martin, Altium's founder and Joint CEO.

"The system is device and FPGA vendor-independent, and now offers complete freedom in the choice of capture language.

Pricing and availability Support for Verilog in Nexar will be available from December 1, 2004 with the release of Service Pack 2, and will be included in new Nexar licences at no extra cost.

Nexar is priced at 7,995 Euro for a new licence.

A Unified Nexar-Protel 2004 software license is also available, providing complete FPGA-PCB systems development, and is priced at 9,995 Euro.

Protel 2004 users can upgrade their existing license to this system from 2,995 Euro.

Altium's NanoBoard is priced at 995 Euro and is currently delivered with two daughter boards included - the Xilinx Spartan-IIE 300 and the Altera Cyclone 12.

A wide range of additional daughter boards are also available.

For developers wanting to evaluate Nexar, LiveDesign Evaluation Kits are now available and prices start from 49 Euro.

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