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PDN tools for FPGA designers

PDN, or power distribution network, tools are a fairly recent innovation, introduced in response to the growth in complex, powerful embedded firmware.

Modern firmware routinely incorporates advanced digital signal processing and FPGA programming components, with many times the capacity of the integrated circuitry available a few years ago – and a far higher power demand. VLSI designers must maximize system performance whilst minimizing power consumption, for which an effective power distribution network is needed.

At board level, the PDN enables the voltage regulating module (VRM) to distribute power to the FPGA power supply, and to return current from the PS to the VRM. It also optimizes FPGA performance and transceiver signal integrity. PDN modeling tools are a recent introduction, and constantly challenged by the escalating demands of modern electronic hardware systems. Altera have developed a PDN graphical design tool, for use with their FPGA designs, which supports other high speed PCB design software. Software company Cadence have also incorporated PDN tools into their latest Allegro PCB design suite.

PCB design, and its accompanying software, is in a constant state of evolution. On-chip signaling has much higher frequencies than the inter-chip signals of earlier integrated circuits. In DSP programming, digital and radio frequency signals are often combined in one circuit, further complicating matters. We at Enventure Technologies can take things like this in our stride, offering a full range of FPGA design and DSP programming and services which use the latest OrCAD and Allegro PCB design software. We offer a full service which extends from early concepts to the final prototype.

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