Dennis Tomlinson ([email protected])
Thu, 14 May 1998 13:20:59 -0500

John Heighton wrote:

> Hello,
> I have used Quad's XTK signal integrity tool extensively, however my
> company are thinking of switching to the Mentor Graphics IS_Floorplanner
> tool (I think the whole package is/was called ICX), or the new simpler
> version of this tool known as IS_Analyzer, as all the other applications
> we have are Mentor Graphics.

I've used both - QUAD for several years, ICX for about 1 year. ICX is
an acronym for Interconnectix - the original name of the company
which did the IS tool set, before being purchased by MGC. The term
"IS_Analyzer" is new to me. We call the whole tool set "IS".

QUAD is a third party tool set. QUAD was first: an independant, then
second: purchased by Viewlogic, who was third: purchased by Synopsis.
I'm not sure what the future holds for QUAD being distributed and
supported by MGC. (Anyone else have an opinion?)

> Is there anyone out there with some hands on experience of one or other
> of the aforementioned Mentor tools, if so, I was wondering how effective
> you have found the various different functions it has; pre & post layout
> signal integrity, interactive routing, & floorplanning?

We've found the Floorplanner very effective for placement verification,
rules entry/management, and post route SI verification. We've had less
luck with the synthesizer. IMHO, it's a matter of tool immaturity, and
plain old horsepower requirements that limit it's utility. In fairness, I
know there are other companies using the synthesizer, and probably
with more success.

> Is the tool much more complex to use than say, the Quad Tool, and how
> long is it likely to take to get up to speed on the tool?

The spreadsheet environment for entry was, IMO, an extremely wise
move by the IS tool creators. It's a natural for engineers. It makes
first level competence quick and easy. Expert level competence might
take as long as QUAD (don't know - not there yet). This, I believe, is
due to the maturity issue. Again, in fairness, we've had good luck
with support from MGC (your mileage may vary).

For my own curiosity, how many $AU is MGC asking for the set?

> Any input or comments on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks John Heighton