Friday, September 08, 2006

Do you use board-level signal integrity simulation?

Signal integrity expert Eric Bogatin says only the top tier companies do, but as we step deeper into the era of Gigahertz-class signaling that will change.

Bogatin’s Web site at is a treasure trove of articles and class materials on SI. Typically only 10-15% of students in his classes have moved to using SI simulation tools.

“The vast majority of engineers haven’t made this transition yet. They still use a rule of thumb method or do some prototyping,” Bogatin told me.

By contrast, Intel Corp. reportedly conducted some 400,000 Monte Carlo simulations of the AGP graphics bus before it went to market. “That’s what the design groups at the top companies do,” Bogatin said.

I’d like to hear what you do and what your top SI issues are these days. --rbm


Anonymous said...

I work at a small company that does alot of gigabit+ serial designs and we would dearly love to have a full simulation capablility, but the fees that the EDA companies charge to get this level of simulation are much too high for it to make sense. Only big companies could possibly afford to spend 150k$+ per seat on simulation software. Heck, if you want to whole show: hspice, s-parameter simulation, 3d field solver, etc then you are well into the 200k$ range, plus add in the costs of a DCA and TDR to correlate the simulations with and you are well outside the budgets for small companies.

The most we do right now is non-gigabit simulation with Allegro SI and IBIS models to control cross talk and so on. But we are planning to have XFI on our next boards and that will require a very expensive set of software purchases :<

Anonymous said...

At our organization we use a component approach rather than a full "board-level" SI tools. We are starting to use HyperLynx for the slower data rates, but most of our work is much too fast for that. Yes, this is an expensive business to be in.

Rick Merritt said...

Sounds like there is a clear opportunity for high performance SI simulation tools that come in well under $100K per seat...EDA world, are you hearing this?

Posters, sketch out the feature set and the cost point, any maybe some ambitious startup will tackle it!