July 16, 2012 -- Lattice Semiconductor Corp. today announced version 2.0 of its Lattice Diamond design software for Lattice FPGA products. Version 2.0 includes advanced support for the new LatticeECP4 FPGA family, which targets the low-cost, low-power, mid-range FPGA market for cost- and power-sensitive wireless, wireline, video and computing applications.
"Lattice Diamond 2.0 software includes a complete set of easy to use, powerful design tools fine-tuned specifically for the unique logic fabric of our low-power, low-cost mid-range FPGAs. We've added new capabilities like System Planner to support our innovative LatticeECP4 architecture and simplify the creation of complex high-speed 6-Gbps serial data transmission solutions without compromising cost targets," said Mike Kendrick, Lattice's Director of Software Marketing.
Advanced data support for the new LatticeECP4 FPGA family
The Lattice Diamond design environment lets users explore design alternatives as they target cost-sensitive, low-power mid-range FPGA applications. Lattice Diamond 2.0 software includes advanced data support for timing, power and packaging based on early silicon characterization of the LatticeECP4-190 device. In addition to algorithms that help ensure low-cost and low-power implementation, Lattice Diamond version 2.0 adds a new System Planner tool that lets users optimize the resource usage of the 12 6-Gbps SerDes channels offered on the LatticeECP4 devices.
In addition, the power-calculator tool provides settings for power save and standby modes, along with pre-emphasis configuration, to accurately analyze and estimate the power consumption of LatticeECP4 designs. Version 2.0 also enables the generation of the LatticeECP4 device's DSP blocks: the industry's only FPGA-based high throughput, double-data-rate DSP blocks, which are ideal for low-cost, high-performance RF, baseband and image signal processing.
More efficient design flow
Achieving timing closure in the shortest amount of time can be a significant challenge as users put more and more functionality into a single FPGA. When users make changes to their designs, they would like the FPGA design tool to preserve some of the critical timing results already achieved and to reduce the overall run-time needed to implement the updated design. Users of LatticeECP3 FPGAs can now use a partition-based incremental design flow to help preserve the performance of their designs and reduce the time required for subsequent compile runs needed to implement small design updates. This design flow re-uses previously compiled partitions — the ones untouched during the re-design — and re-compiles only the partitions where changes have been introduced.
In addition, in order to achieve fast timing closure, most users are typically required to properly constrain their designs. Lattice Diamond 2.0 software now includes an improved, unconstrained paths report that will let users more quickly identify and fill gaps in their design constraints.
To help identify and correct pin-usage issues early in the flow, a new pin-usage design rule check (DRC) engine was introduced with Lattice Diamond version 1.4. With version 2.0, Lattice Diamond software now detects additional incorrect pin-usage cases and supports the LatticeECP4 devices, in addition to the LatticeECP3, MachXO2 and LatticeSC device families. This DRC engine operates either in real-time or on-demand. It also outputs user-friendly reports that help correct pin-usage issues by providing users with suggestions.
The Lattice Diamond Programmer and Lattice Diamond Deployment Tool are included in each Lattice Diamond software release. Via a wizard approach, they enable users to easily program Lattice devices or create the appropriate device-programming file in the format required by the user's deployment method. Starting with Lattice Diamond Programmer 2.0, users can now add their own SPI Flash devices to any new release of the tool. Lattice Diamond Deployment Tool 2.0 also offers more embedded operations, such as I2C embedded for the MachXO2 device family, and Slave SPI for the LatticeECP3 and LatticeXP2 device families. Both Lattice Diamond Programmer and Lattice Diamond Deployment Tool are also available as standalone tools.
Third-party tool support
Lattice Diamond software incorporates Synopsys' Synplify Pro advanced FPGA synthesis for Windows and Linux. Aldec's Active-HDL Lattice Edition II simulator is also included for Windows.
Support for all Lattice devices is included not only in the OEM versions of Synplify Pro and Active-HDL, but is also available in the full versions of Synopsys Synplify Pro, Aldec Active-HDL and Riviera-PRO. Mentor Graphics ModelSim SE and Precision RTL synthesis also support Lattice devices.
Operating systems support
Lattice Diamond 2.0 software supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, and is now also provided as a 64-bit application for Windows 7 to increase memory capacity. For Linux users, Lattice Diamond 2.0 now runs on Linux Red Hat 6 in addition to versions 5 and 4.
Availability and Pricing
Lattice Diamond software for both Windows and Linux operating systems can be downloaded from the Lattice website. Once downloaded and installed, the software can be used with either the Lattice Diamond free license or the Lattice Diamond subscription license. The Lattice Diamond free license can be generated immediately upon request from the Lattice website. It provides free access to many popular Lattice devices, such as the MachXO2 and Platform Manager families. The Lattice Diamond free license enables Synopsys Synplify Pro for Lattice synthesis as well as the Aldec Lattice Edition II mixed language simulator.
Purchase of the Lattice Diamond subscription license enables all the features of the free license and includes access to all Lattice FPGAs, including the new LatticeECP4 devices (with the exception of the LatticeECP4-95 device, which is currently available to select customers). The Lattice Diamond subscription license price is $895 per year.
Posted by: John Miklosz
Go to the Lattice Semiconductor Corp. website for details.