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What software is typically used for Xilinx FPGA development?

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Full Member level 4
Oct 8, 2001
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Can someone tell me what software programs in addition to ISE from Xilinx are used for FPGA development? and why? I keep hearing of Synopsys and Synplicity but have no idea what they do or if they're usefull and for what?

- Jayson

Xilinx ISE is integrated Software environment. i.e. it has its own xilinx synthesis tool (XST) and then place and route tool. But simulation tool is from Modelsim ( third party).

Synopsys and Synplify are third party synthesis tools and have to be obtained separately if required. But now synopsys is no more supporting for FPGA synthesis.
Thats all I know!

what is the advantage of using a third party synthesis tool?

- Jayson

you can develop all vendor's device.
compiling is more fast . synthesis is more fast. etc.


synplicity is the most popular synthesis software for FPGA, it has better reputation compared with the synthesis software provided by FPGA providers.

synplify can get result in shorter time , and fpga express can result in a high performance result .
And simulation tool the best is M@delsim, someone talk about debussy, but I have not used it.

If you have big designs, with very difficult to achieve timing requirements, a very good and useful tool is Amplify.

I use m0de5im + 5ynplIfy + 15E, buy a machine with more RAM, they are very hungry.

I use spec*rum. I feel it work better than XST.
And for synplify is also one good tool. But some time it reduce the logic too much.

I also use ISE Synplify(amplify) + Modelsim.

They work quite good.

Does anyone out there use the HDL designer or Fpga advantage.

In the roadshow of Mentor last year,
I am impressed by their tool set.

But price is always a problem.

i use men*or fpgav you can finish all the design process. And use spec*rum 's physical function and ise to map & par
It's very good tool

The third-party synthesis tools are almost better than fpga vendor's tools. I am using Spectr and Syn. They are so good in its duty. It can synthesize complex equations, complex designs.

Xilinx Design Tools

Xilinx ISE 5.1i Development tools comes with in-built synthesis tool
XST. You dont need Synplicity or Synopsys. In the older versions of
Xilinx Foundation Series there was no XST. So they used the third
party synthesis tools like Synopsys FPGA Express etc. Hope it clarifies


Better than Synplify is Amplify. Amplify is a physical synthesis tool and it claims around 15% less logic usage compared to synplify. Hence amplify is costlier than synplify for logic saving in FPGA.

Aldec+Synplify+ISE Alliance - it doesn't get any better. Unless you can efford Amplify :D

If you have ambitious timing requrements,I think Amplify is better.
I use synplify(amplify)+ISE+modelsim

FPGA Development Tools

I think the best solution for FPGA development is to use

Amplify+ ModelSim + ISE 5.1i

I have recently started using them and I must say these three tools are an ultimate combination regarding logic reduction in FPGA (Amplify) and debugging the code and simulating it (ModelSim)

Aircraft Maniac


I'm wondering that nobody is really happy with the results of XST. Why? Is it compilation time that is much longer or are the synthesis results (size) so bad compared to s.mpl.fy/ampl.fy?
Since I have no comparison between these tools (I'm still using XST since it is available at no extra costs in I$E5.1.), please let me/us know more about it.

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