National Semiconductor Launches New WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect

13th September 2010
News Release from: National Semiconductor
Written by : Eleanor Burns
National Semiconductor Launches New WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect

Nat Semi today introduced WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect, the industry’s first design tool to model and optimize power supplies for FPGAs in minutes. WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect incorporates the detailed supply requirements of more than 130 of the newest FPGA devices from Altera Corp. and Xilinx, Inc. Modern power supply systems, including advanced FPGAs, are complex to design, often incorporating multiple unique loads to drive precisely specified voltages.

In addition to the required voltages and currents, each load may have specific limitations for ripple, noise filtering, synchronization and separation of supplies, as well as start up definitions (soft start). The power supply designs delivered by WEBENCH incorporate comprehensive power requirements published by the FPGA manufacturers, giving the designer confidence that their power supplies will meet these constraints while saving critical time in the process. Watch a video demonstration at http://bit.ly/videoFPGA.

“Xilinx has made a considerable investment in simplifying the power supply requirements and the power distribution system requirements for our FPGAs,” said Jameel Hussein, technical marketing manager for Power and Configuration Solutions at Xilinx. “With the help of National Semiconductor’s WEBENCH FPGA Power Architect, design workload is further reduced to allow the customer to get to market faster and save cost on board-spins and debugging.”

To begin a design, the designer selects an advanced FPGA from Altera or Xilinx and the tool automatically populates the unique power requirements, identifying core and I/O options for every potential load of that array. Once tuned by the designer, WEBENCH collects all the loads and creates multiple power supply architectures as options for driving the FPGA and the total system.

“A real system always includes much more than just the FPGA. We are making it easy for designers to quickly model their complete system power needs and include the unique requirements of their FPGA with confidence,” said Phil Gibson, vice president of Technical Sales Tools at National Semiconductor. “We are helping them avoid mistakes and save countless hours of research and development time.”

The power supply may involve one or more intermediate voltage rails between the input supply and the point-of-load regulators. The designer can tune the recommended power supply with the turn of a dial, reducing size, increasing efficiency or lowering complete system cost in seconds. The designer can also order components for prototyping, share the complete system with others, or easily print a complete project report including schematics, bill of materials (BOM) and performance characteristics.


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