There’s no question; verification is a massive time drain in SoC and other chip design projects. For many years, those with deep enough pockets have turned to so-called “Big Box” emulators in order to recover some of the time lost on RTL simulation, but what about the rest of us? Is there another way to accelerate verification and reduce our overall project schedule? Yes there is; and at Aldec they call it FPGA-based Emulation.
“FPGAs; aren’t they just for prototyping?”
Sure, FPGAs are the fastest platform for prototyping, but we can also harness that speed into our verification environment, then we can achieve runtime performance 2x to 5x faster than traditional “big box” emulation systems, and all at a fraction of the cost per gate per MHz. The most significant differences between FPGA usage in prototypes and in emulation is shown in table 1.