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PCB Design Blog

28 Mar, 2013

FPGAs are Still Cool

Posted by Randall Myers

Randall Myers

Altera goes back to 1984, when you could get 720KB on a floppy.  After all these years, FPGAs still provide the right mix of being flexible like software while still being fixed and fast like hardware.  Why does this cool idea persist in new product designs? Fortunately the big FPGA vendors, such as Xilinx, have continued to invest in R&D.  Innovations from internal genius and acquisitions have

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FPGA

21 Mar, 2013

Michael Ford

They say that you are what you eat. If so, it means that many people in the UK are rather more horse than they thought. Endless jokes about “why such a long face?” aside, this really shouldn’t have been a surprise. For years now, there has been food on sale in the UK simply described as “meat”, such as meat pies, meat sausages etc. When someone asked about what the meat actually was, DNA testing was

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6 Mar, 2013

Ed Goldman

In an article published last Semptember on the Huffington Post there was a claim that the United States is facing a serious STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) talent crises. The author pointed to a study by the US Department of Labor claiming that the STEM workforce accounts for 50% of economic growth while only 5% of the working population are employed in STEM fields. The article

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28 Feb, 2013

Gary Lameris

So far 2013 has been a great year to explore the creative drawing aspects in DxDesigner.  I’ve been ignoring my blog writing but I’ve been drawing several new schematics and updating many of our older reference designs with the new capabilities in DxDesigner 7.9.4. In the example below, an entire new design was created, from a new library symbol set, finding and drawing a reference schematic

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Schematic Design

13 Feb, 2013

Michael Ford

The World-Class Executive’s Five Year Survival Plan Throughout successive peaks and troughs of the business climate, there are always opportunities to succeed over competitors in the market. The more volatile the electronics industry becomes, the greater the opportunities, but the more difficult it may seem to address them. Today, with business being challenged in so many areas, and with such key changes

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8 Feb, 2013

Don't Fear the VM

Posted by Randall Myers

Randall Myers

While recording a how-to video about placing parts on a schematic, one part is showing off the hyperlink to the datasheet.  That is moderately cool in the hardware designer circles, but what happened when I clicked the link was beyond cool.  To see the whole picture, I have a Windows-Dell and a MacBook Pro next to each other on my desk.  I use virtual machines (VM) to keep all the various flavors of

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7 Feb, 2013

Chuck Ferry

Last week at DesignCon 2013, I provided an Analysis Anchored to Reality presentation of the highlighting and validating the new features of HyperLynx 9.0. Teledyne LeCroy, Molex, CCN, and Picosecond Pulse Labs partnered with us to provide measurement equipment, hardware to test, and a pattern generator for this demonstration. We started off with a correlation study so customers could see that the analysis

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6 Feb, 2013

Extreme Chicken & Egg

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

It is always interesting to hear about those companies who have actually taken radical action to succeed, rather than just talking about it. Seeing changes in market demand and hearing how new tools can help, they jump in and address the challenges head-on. Making the changes creates for these companies something that in a real business sense, sets them apart from their peers. Such a success story I

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1 Feb, 2013

Learning Through Video

Posted by Gary Lameris

Gary Lameris

The Mentor Graphics support group has been busy this past year creating several webinars and support videos on DxDesigner.  If you’re subscribed to the SupportPro Newsletter, you may have noticed eight new videos posted from our support team on using DxDesigner. These videos are also available at this link: http://supportnet.mentor.com/reference/tutorials with your SupportNet account. SupportNet Recently

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Schematic Design

31 Jan, 2013

Dave Kohlmeier

Over the past 16 years I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the development of HyperLynx and am excited about the latest release, HyperLynx 9.0 as we are simultaneously celebrating its 25th birthday and 10th year with Mentor Graphics. HyperLynx was founded in 1988 when cell phones were the size of a lunch box, FPGAs were just hitting the streets with a Xilinx 2064 touting 64 logic cells, VHDL and

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Power Integrity, 3DEM simulation

22 Jan, 2013

Creating a Cover Sheet with Links

Posted by Gary Lameris

Gary Lameris

A few weeks ago I was visiting a nearby customer to demonstrate the powerful ELDO SPICE simulator as an add-on to our HyperLynx Analog simulation lauchpad. To navigate through the schematic, I clicked on the arrows I use for links on the cover page to jump to the page for simulation. After the demo was complete the customer asked me, “You clicked on an arrow on the table of contents page and ended

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Analog simulation, Schematic Design

21 Jan, 2013

Randall Myers

After years of pooh-poohing AMD, Intel had to admit you could get more data throughput switching to a high-speed serial approach. Let’s say high-speed serial is in the 1 to 10 Gbps range per lane, and use PCIe as an example. This is where the benefits become irresistible and the behavior becomes unexpected according to the previous rules of layout design. The PCIe specification helps define the different

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RF, PCI Express

9 Jan, 2013

How much stitching do I need?

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier

If signal integrity engineers had the power to make their jobs as easy as possible, every signal in an electronic device would have its own coaxial cable to connect driver to transmitter.  But then electronics would be the size of buildings again and certainly wouldn’t fit in your pocket.  So instead, we try to cram as much stuff as possible onto a little PCB and make it work at 100s and 1000s

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8 Jan, 2013

Fix The Problems, Not The Symptoms!

Posted by Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Fixing problems can seem hard, there is always a momentum resisting change. Is it better though, to spend time and effort to fix the symptoms of the problem? Quite honestly, no. The UK had a lot of rain recently, but, the growing season is coming around again and the greenhouse is only partially complete, so the week-end was spent outside digging in the mud, again. The next door neighbour comes along,

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7 Jan, 2013

Pick a layer and stick with it

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier

One of the nice things about newer, faster busses like DDR3 and DDR4 is on-die termination.  They are nice because you don’t have a bunch of components clogging up your routing layers, and I would say more importantly, it limits your required layer transitions which can help make your boards quieter.  So take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to route out to a terminator and try

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