Magma proclaims user success with RTL synthesisSANTA CRUZ, Calif. Claiming significant progress in challenging Synopsys' near-monopoly position in ASIC synthesis, Magma Design Automation this week (Oct. 13) is announcing that over 30 customers have purchased its Blast Create 4.0 product and that six designs have been taped out. One of the tapeouts, from networking startup Infrant Technologies, was independently verified by EE Times.
Proclaiming the "end of synthesis as we know it," Magma announced Blast Create 4.0 in April. With virtual prototyping, RTL synthesis, and physical synthesis, Blast Create claims to be fully integrated into Magma's Blast Fusion physical design system, thus avoiding the re-optimizations and iterations needed in other design flows. It also claims to handle up to 5 million gates flat in a single chunk.
With this week's announcements, said Yatin Trivedi, Magma director of product marketing, "the message is that the migration has started." While some of the new Blast Create customers are using that product alongside Synopsys' Design Compiler, others are swapping Synopsys out completely, he said.
But Synopsys, which has maintained a 90-percent-plus market share in ASIC synthesis for years, is undaunted. "Design Compiler continues to be the industry's choice for RTL synthesis," said Tom Ferry, vice president of marketing for Synopsys' Implementation Group. "Moving forward, we are confident the vast majority of IC designers will continue to rely on Synopsys for all of their RTL synthesis needs."
In its press announcements, Magma said that Broadcom taped out a 15 million-gate network switching device, Infrant taped out a 250 MHz, 3-million gate network storage design, and Chrontel taped out a 200 MHz mixed-signal multimedia design using Blast Create 4.0. Magma also said service providers Qthink, Spike Technologies, and Fastrack Design are using Blast Create.
Magma also announced that NEC has qualified Magma's RTL-to-GDSII design flow, and that EDA vendors, including Veritools, are working with Magma to ensure interoperability with Blast Create.
Paul Tien, CEO of Infrant, confirmed that his company used Blast Create and Blast Fusion to tape out its first product, a serial-ATA network storage processor. This, he said, is the first network attached storage (NAS) design on a single chip.
Tien used Synopsys tools at a previous company, but he said his new company selected Magma because of its ability to synthesize the entire 3-million gate chip in a single chunk. "Synopsys historically cannot handle a large database from the top down," he said.
Another key differentiator, Tien said, is timing prediction. "With the [Magma] gain-based approach, you can get an earlier exposure as to how well the timing closure is tied to your synthesis," he said. "You probably don't need to over-synthesize, which a lot of Synopsys users are used to doing."
Tien noted, however, that Infrante used the ASIC vendor's design for test tool, because Magma's DFT capability wasn't ready in the version that Infrante used. He'd also like to see more integration with ASIC vendor tools, as well as an electromigration check. Tien observed that Synopsys' DesignWare library is "still a lot more comprehensive" than Magma's offering, but said this didn't pose a serious problem for his design team.
Magma's Trivedi acknowledged that Magma still has a long ways to go in order to make serious inroads into Synopsys' stronghold. "Market share is not an appropriate number to look at right now," he said. "The change has just begun. We're not talking thousands of customers yet."