Division of Labor


Mentor Graphics Corp. announced that Toshiba Corp. has selected Mentor Graphics ADVance MS (ADMS) tool, a mixed-signal, mixed-level IC simulator, for use in Toshiba's IC design flow. Toshiba says it will use ADMS for its mixed digital-analog CMOS and BiCMOS SoC designs. ADMS uses a single kernel engine that combines the ModelSim VHDL/Verilog simulator, AMS HDL language in VHDL-AMS and Verilog-AMS, and Eldo, a transistor-level simulator.

MLDesign Technologies announced the availability of version 2.4 of MLDesigner, an integrated “mission-level” design platform, that the company says offers better performance, distributed external simulations, expanded run control capabilities, and support for the GNU C compiler 3.X. Improved run control capabilities are intended to provide new options for stepping through simulations to analyze simulation execution while monitoring critical events, and to track the execution of external simulations. MLDesigner 2.4 includes a new family of probes, which can be combined with breakpoints, graphic animation, and run controls to extend debugging capabilities. Probe outputs can be displayed dynamically during simulation or written to files for later analysis.

Tera Systems announced that its TeraForm RTL Design Consultant (RDC) and Virtual Prototype (VP) technologies have been selected for inclusion in the NEC Electronics' Instant Silicon Solution Platform (ISSP) OpenCAD design flow. NEC says it chose the Tera Systems TeraForm product to “simplify the customer design flow for ISSP designs and increase performance predictability.” The NEC Electronics ISSP is a new class of ASIC device based on a high-integration, “easy-to-design” ASIC architecture, which targets mid-volume designs.



Industry News - Devices & Fabs

Agere Systems announced 21 transistors intended for the wireless basestation power amplifier market. The company says the new products are “the world's coolest temperature wireless radio frequency power transistors.” Agere believes the transistors will help to shrink the size and shift the location of a typical basestations, from the size of a backyard toolshed and installed on the ground to the size of a suitcase and installed above the ground on wireless antenna towers. The company also believes the new transistors will reduce the number of cooling fans in base stations, compared with hotter transistor products, and reduce noise pollution in the vicinity of basestations.

Also from Agere - The company announced an integrated multimode wireless LAN chip set that permits “seamless” connectivity to 802.11a, b, and soon-to-be deployed 802.11g networks. The multimode chip set includes a single-chip, dual-band RF transceiver. The RF chip can operate in both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands. The radio is coupled with a multimode MAC, a multimode baseband processor, and a dual-band power amplifier to form an interoperable, single platform for both 802.11a/b and 802.11g wireless LAN applications. The product includes evaluation boards, reference designs, firmware and software drivers, certification utilities, manufacturing test software, and customer support, along with data transmission speeds of up to 54 Mbps. The company expects to deliver silicon samples in the second quarter of 2003.

AMD announced its low-voltage mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processors will be part of the new Fujitsu LifeBook S2000 notebook, which weighs less than four pounds and is 1.36” in height. This will be the first AMD processor-based thin-and-light notebook available in the U.S.

Infineon Technologies AG announced several product and business developments in its Wireline Communications Business Unit, which add to the Infineon portfolio of optical communications products - optical transceiver (TRX) modules that comply with the newly approved XFP standard; a family of “intelligent” small-form-factor pluggable (iSFP) TRX modules with data rates of up to 2.5 Gbps; a second generation of Infineon's parallel optical link devices, the PAROLI 2 family, with data rates of up to 3.125 Gbps; a joint PAROLI device marketing and product development agreement with Molex Inc., with all PAROLI products fully second-sourced by Molex; and the shipping of the TenGiPHY product, a 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GE) XAUI-to-serial transceiver.

Intel Corp. introduced its fastest Intel Xeon processors, with performance above 3 GHz. The new processor at 3.06 GHz has a 512 KB level-two cache and a 533 MHz system bus, and is drop-in compatible with existing systems designed with the Intel E7501 or Intel E7505 chipsets. The 3 GHz Xeon includes a 512 KB level-two cache and a 400 MHz system bus, and is drop-in compatible with systems designed with the Intel E7500 or Intel 860 chipsets. Systems based on Intel Xeon processors are used as servers for web hosting, data caching, search engines, security and streaming media, and as workstations for various engineering and business applications.

Also from Intel - Intel Corp. introduced Intel Centrino mobile technology, which integrates wireless capability into a new generation of mobile PCs that the company says “will bring business users and consumers greater freedom to connect in new places and in new ways.” The Centrino technology includes a new mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network functions that have been optimized, tested, and validated to work together. In addition to wireless communications, the Centrino technology aims to extend battery life, allow for thinner and lighter notebook designs, and provide high-quality mobile performance. Intel CEO Craig Barrett said, “Unwiring the PC will change the way people use computers, allowing them to communicate, be productive or be entertained wherever and whenever they want. This breakthrough innovation, together with industry-wide investment and Wi-Fi hotspot deployments, brings new computing and communications capabilities to businesses and consumers, adding value to mobile PCs.”

Intel says: “Hotspots - locations where users can connect using 802.11 wireless technology - are on the rise. According to industry analyst firm IDC, there will be more than 118,000 hotspots worldwide by 2005. Using truly mobile notebook computers can change the way people live. A business traveler can check office e-mail or read the hometown newspaper on-line while waiting for a flight at the airport, and still have battery life left to watch a DVD movie on the plane ride home. A real estate agent can check the latest listings wirelessly while dining with prospective homebuyers. A financial planner can check the market and activate client orders while at a seminar without compromising on the performance necessary to run the most demanding office applications. Students can register for next semester's classes or seek a part-time job from the college library, all on a sleek, light-weight system that won't drag them down.”

MoSys, Inc. announced that the company's 1T-SRAM memory technology has now been silicon-proven on a 90-nanometer standard logic process. The 1T-SRAM memory uses a 0.61-micron square-bit cell design for an embedded memory density of 1.1 mm square per megabit. The company says this allows designers to integrate over 100-megabits of embedded memory on a standard logic device for SoC products, and that by incorporating MoSys' Transparent Error Correction (TEC) technology as standard for the 90-nanometer implementation of 1T-SRAM memory, the user avoids the cost of laser repair for large embedded memories while maintaining adequate yield, reliability, and low soft error rate. The measured soft error rate for 1T-SRAM test chips on the 90-nanometer process is under 4 Failure-In-Times (FITs) per megabit.

Motorola, Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector, announced a flexible IO expansion IC for microcontroller-based systems. The company says the MC33993 combines “flexible input and output features” and may eliminate the need for dozens of discrete and standard linear ICs in a design. Motorola also says that “in many systems, it may be the only device needed besides the MCU and a 3-pin regulator.” The MC33993 interfaces with a MCU through a four-pin serial peripheral interface and uses an analog multiplex feature to send up to 22 analog signals to one MCU A/D input. The 22 IO pins may be configured to detect the status of a switch contact, provide an analog value to a buffered output, drive an LED or the gate of an FET, or provide switched power to a low current sensor. The MC33993 also includes a low-current sleep mode.

National Semiconductor announced the LP387x family of low-noise CMOS low dropout (LDO) switching regulators for low voltage, high current applications. The six new products have output currents of 0.8 A, 1.5 A or 3.0 A, logic-controlled ON/OFF, either an error flag or a separate sense pin, and over-temperature and over-current protection. The typical dropout voltage for the regulators is a low 240 mV at 800 mA, 380 mV at 1.5 A, and 800 mV at 3.0 A load. The new product family includes the LP3871, LP3872, LP3873, LP3874, LP3875, and LP3876, and is characterized by an output voltage accuracy of +/- 1.5% at room temperature over load and line variations, and is guaranteed to be +/- 3.0% over all conditions. In applications where the load is remote from the regulator, the separate output sense pin allows sensing at the load, compensating for PCB trace resistance. The 10 nA quiescent current in shutdown mode permits Sleep or Standby operation. The LP387x family is currently available.

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