SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Macnica Americas Accelerates PCI Express Simulation for Altera FPGAs with DrivExpress Version 1.0

Macnica Americas, Inc. today announced the release and immediate availability of DrivExpress Version 1.0, offering a PCI Express verification suite designed for high performance simulation of PCI Express-enabled designs that target Altera FPGAs.

Verison 1.0 adds a Python-based scripting interface, multi-lane support, and a custom installer, not available in early versions of the tool previously released to customers. The Python interface provides an additional productivity advantage, as the scripts can be used as a communications medium between software designers writing drivers and engineers developing the FPGA.

Acceleration beyond conventional RTL-based models is achieved through use of the Direct Programming Interface (DPI) available in most Verilog simulators, which allows C++ code running natively on the host computer to interact directly with the simulation.

“The use of PCI Express hard IP cores is becoming increasingly common on today's FPGAs,” said Marc Levy, Chief Technical Officer at Macnica Americas. “However, this represents a verification problem for designers because commercially available simulation tools target the more complex task of protocol compliance, while vendor-supplied PCIe testbenches are not flexible enough to adequately test user designs. DrivExpress fills this gap with a cost effective, easy-to-use solution, specifically targeting Altera FPGA designs.”

"One of the challenges with using PCI Express on FPGAs is that every design is unique and thus requires a custom software driver," said Jeremy Nightingale, Technical Marketing Manager at Macnica Americas. "DrivExpress provides built-in functions that can be used to mimic software driver behavior, so the scripts built with these functions can be used as a starting point for software driver development as well as for driver debug. These functions are so intuitive, however, that even someone unfamiliar with Python should have no trouble using them.”

DrivExpress is available from Macnica Americas' website in three licensed editions, including a zero-cost starter edition.

http://www.macnica-na.com/web/americas/pci-express

Macnica Americas offers IP, design services and distribution for Altera, Aptina, Broadcom and other semiconductor manufacturers across North America.

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