Just in case you’ve missed it, Carbon Design Systems has recently announced that it is expanding its portfolio by making virtual models available for a wide range of our IP cores, including PowerVR graphics and video cores, Ensigma RPU communications platforms and Meta general-purpose and DSP processors. You can have a look at the extensive list of supported Imagination Technologies IP cores by going to their IP Exchange portal, where Carbon offer Imagination’s popular graphics cores from the Series5 and 5XT family like PowerVR SGX540, PowerVR SGX543 MP1-16, PowerVR SGX 554 MP1-16 as well as Series3 VPUs (Video Processing Units) like VXD39x or VXE38x. Furthermore, Meta multi-threaded application processors like HTP220, MTP220, HTP260 and MTP260 are available together with our LTP microcontroller CPUs and Meta AXD, a special-purpose DSP microprocessors for audio.
This announcement arrived at a time when virtual models and prototypes have begun to gain traction among software developers and SoC designers. In case you might be wondering what a virtual prototype is all about, it basically offers a fully featured software representation that includes the same functionality as a hardware model. It is optimized for tasks like OS bring-up, system integration and test, developing high level drivers and running performance and power analysis.
Carbon Design Systems have become an important player in this market by understanding and harnessing the potential of their technology. Reducing the time to market is every company’s dream but it can sometimes be a rocky road because, without the right tools and expertise, you may end up with the wrong consequences for pushing the pedal. Because Carbon offer cycle-accurate models – a very important aspect of their line-up of products -, any issue that is encountered can be precisely picked out, analyzed and turned around until the underlying problem is found and solved. Moreover, they offer a combination of cycle accuracy and speediness by using a hybrid model of virtual prototypes. You can generate two types of models using their software tools: a cycle accurate and a high speed one and switch between them by setting software breakpoints. Therefore, you can perform OS booting quickly and then slow things down when drivers begin to load. Even better, you can speed things back again and start running actual applications.
Model generation with Carbon Model Studio
Using Carbon Designs’ virtual models enables engineers to integrate more and more multimedia and communications components into their SoC designs and therefore implement and test more features to achieve a high degree of differentiation. Our PowerVR ecosystem will be able to take advantage of these platforms as well, as better drivers will become available for software developers while power and performance enhancements will allow them to write applications that will be optimized for these platforms, creating a higher degree of customer satisfaction and increasing margins.
Generating a SystemC Component with Carbon Model Studio
Virtual models can offer even more. Imagine a SoC architect having all these building blocks for his future chip. How can he make sure that, once connected, all these components will communicate correctly and coherently? As we know, software that was developed for one platform might not run so smoothly on another. By using virtual models, the architect can prevent problems like sudden battery drain or large drops in performance. Furthermore, he can actually build a test bench by putting the hardware model and the virtual prototype side by side and make it run the same piece of code or perform formal validation at the system level.
Imagination Technologies welcomes Carbon Design Systems to our ecosystem as a valued member of our strong community of industry and technology partners. We look forward to seeing fantastic results from this collaboration as more engineers start using virtual models to accelerate their development work.