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Keysight ADS vs Cadence Virtuoso In the MMIC Design

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Advanced Member level 2
Jul 4, 2005
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I know Cadence Virtuoso is better in terms of IC design. However, I would like to understand why it's better. Can anyone elaborate in terms of usability, pdk, and others?
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A detailed explanation of why cadence virtuoso is better compared to keysight ADS in IC design is much appreciated.
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Who said Virtuoso is better than ADS ?? This is a wrong claim.
2 Tools have different orientations and target. While Cadence Virtuoso has complete top to bottom VLSI solution, ADS targets MMIC and Discrete RF-Microwave applications. You compare apples and grapes.
In my humble opinion, for instance ADS is much better in term of HB simulation but Virtuoso has great features for layout. While Virtuoso layout tool is more compatible for DRC and LVS like verifications, ADS is very strong on planar EM simulations. etc..

what do you mean by a complete top to bottom VLSI solution? sorry, I'm new to IC design.

are you trying to say that cadence do RFIC and MMIC for digital (MCU and etc), Analog (RF), and mixed-signal (VCOs) but ADS focuses on Analog(RF) alone? Is that means the PDK from foundries in ADS limited to Analog(RF) components?

The RFIC company I worked for let the engineers have
both because they were largely complementary. Some
things you need done, only one of the two will (or would
at the time) do. And there's no surer way to p!ss off an
experienced and expensive engineer than to make them
use a tool they know is incapable of the task. Much better
to just buy more tools and tell them to share nice.

Where the radio guys were working, was around where
you'd expect to transition design styles and tools - cell
phone high band, higher than that but only for switches.
Switches ended up needing some fine EM simulation on
the FET stacks, the LNA and PA guys were hard over for ADS,
for the fancy RF analyses as I made it out. The PLLs, power
management and ASICs were Cadence all the way.
Hi Pragash,

One more throught: to design for an RFIC technology, you really need the foundry design kit. You need to check if a full ADS PDK (incl. layout) exists for your selected technology.

Some technologies that claim to provide ADS support only offer limited functionality.

An example for a foundry with full ADS PDK support is IHP. The PDK includes not only simulation models, but also layout.

Best regards
Dr Volker, thanks for the reply. IHP is a Silicon foundry PDKs. How about MMIC or III-V foundry PDK? which foundry provides the best for ADS simulation?

Hi Pragash,

I have been working with people working on Silicon, and don't know about the PDK situation for GaAs/III-V. It might be less Cadence-centric.

Best regards
Dr Volker, thanks for the reply. IHP is a Silicon foundry PDKs. How about MMIC or III-V foundry PDK? which foundry provides the best for ADS simulation?
As I said before, Patwave ADS is more compatible for III-V PDKs while Cadence Virtuoso is targeting Silicon ( BiCMOS or CMOS ). There are also some interlaced areas in PDK Suppliers like WIN Semiconductors. They provide PDKs for both tool.
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