Altium Supports Mentor's Push to Provide Chip-to-Board Solutions for FPGA and PCB Design

SYDNEY, Australia - August 2, 2004 - Altium Limited (ASX: ALU), a leading developer of Windows-based electronics design software, today announced it supports Mentor Graphics' push to solve the emerging FPGA-to-board problems facing designers using high-capacity programmable logic.

"While FPGAs offer extremely compelling benefits, the potential of the latest generation of high-performance, low-cost FPGAs is yet to be fully unlocked," said Nick Martin, Founder and Joint CEO, Altium Limited. "The tradeoffs and challenges faced when integrating PCB-FPGA flows within existing design tools is perhaps the most significant factor inhibiting their use. I am pleased that another major EDA vendor such as Mentor is recognizing the importance of concurrent PCB-FPGA design and is now beginning to address the challenge."

To date Altium has invested close to US$100 million in re-engineering its unique DXP technology integration platform to support concurrent PCB-FPGA design flows. This platform, which underpins the company's Protel 2004 and soon-to-be-released P-CAD 2004 board design systems, provides seamless bi-directional pin synchronization between PCB and FPGA projects, and allows FPGA design information to be automatically flowed through to the board-level for the purposes of routing optimization and signal integrity analysis.

"We believe that it is now essential that all PCB design tools be 'FPGA-ready'; they must enable engineers and designers to exploit the potential of this new, reconfigurable technology," said Martin. "Any board design tool that is not 'FPGA-ready' will simply not be a viable investment for companies that wish to remain competitive."

As well as offering its customers entry into large-scale FPGA design using familiar board-level design methodologies, Altium's DXP-based solutions provide a number of key features to facilitate the integration of PCB and FPGA projects including:

  • design capture that supports design entry for FPGAs in either VHDL, schematic, or a mix of both
  • fully-integrated support for FPGAs throughout the entire design process
  • bi-directional synchronization of pin information between the FPGA and PCB projects
  • auto-generation of PCB schematic symbol from FPGA design
  • automatic optimization of FPGA pinout for board routing
  • automatic propagation of FPGA pin definition information to board signal integrity analysis
"As FPGA devices become larger and cheaper, implementing complex FPGA designs onto PCBs is emerging as one of the major barriers to fully exploiting the benefits of programmable hardware," said Martin. "Designers are looking to their tool providers for solutions to this problem. Mentor and Altium are independently responding to this challenge, and the results will benefit the entire electronics industry."

Pricing and availability
Released in February this year, Protel 2004 is available for sale and is priced at US$7,995.

P-CAD 2004 is currently in beta testing, and is currently scheduled for full release later this year. P-CAD 2002 customers who are on a valid prepaid upgrade subscription plan at the time of P-CAD 2004's release will automatically be shipped the new version free of charge as part of their support contract.

For more product information, visit,, or contact your local Altium Sales and Support Center.

About Altium Limited
Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) is a global developer and supplier of electronics design software for the Microsoft Windows environment. Founded in 1985, Altium released the world's first Microsoft Windows-based printed circuit board design tool in 1991 and continues to provide advanced, easy-to-use and affordable software design tools to electronics engineers, designers, and developers worldwide. Altium's products offer tailored solutions covering a range of hardware and software design processes including the Nexar, Protel, P-CAD and TASKING brands. Altium is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and has sales and support offices in Australia, the United States, Japan and Europe. More information is available at

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Altium, CAMtastic, CircuitStudio, Design Explorer, DXP, LiveDesign, NanoBoard, NanoTalk, Nexar, nVisage, P-CAD, Protel, Situs, TASKING, and Topological Autorouting and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Altium Limited or its subsidiaries. All other registered or unregistered trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners, and no trademark rights to the same are claimed.


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