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Breaking The Three Laws
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    Breaking the Three Laws is dedicated to discussing technically challenging ASIC prototyping problems and sharing solutions.
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    Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' DesignWare USB Solutions. Previously, he was the Director of Product Marketing for Physical (FPGA-based) Prototyping and has held various product marketing, technical marketing manager and application consultant positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.

Whats your main selection criteria?

Posted by Michael Posner on April 2nd, 2013

Following up from last week’s blog I was asked what I thought were the main technical selection criteria for an FPGA-based prototyping platform. I thought hard and long (~5 seconds) and said Capacity, Performance and Ease of use. The reasoning behind capacity being #1 is that you need a platform that has sufficient capacity to cater for your current project requirements including catering for design size growth over the course of the project. You then also want to select a platform that can be reused across multiple projects increasing your return on investment. If the platform does not provide sufficient capacity for the design then you don’t leave the starting gate.

Performance is #2 as it’s the key requirement for running software. Actually I remember saying Performance, Performance, Performance as it’s so important to the software team. I always laugh when talking to software teams, their request is that the prototype platform runs as fast as the actual target product and they see anything slower as a compromise. They also complain if the coffee pot is empty but will they start a fresh one?

Finally ease of use; while you must have a platform that delivers the maximum performance you also want it to be easy to use. Ease of use means many things including ease of the implementation flow, ease of bring up, ease of partitioning, ease of debug and the list goes on.

Then I thought to myself, the FPMM survey asks this question so I looked at the data and below is the results.

Did I nail it or what! Ok, “or what” would be the answer as I did not consider the business trade-off that companies have to make. The result of this is that cost comes in as the #3 priority of selection criteria. I can regain my credibility by saying that the question was what the main technical selection criteria were. Yay, I’m right, if you had the funding then the technical selection criteria is Capacity, Performance, Ease of use.

Flexibility and Expandable shows that users look for a platform that not only meets the need of their current project but can be reused across multiple projects.

Are your selection criteria different from this?

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