Keysight Technologies Inc. announced that Asygn, a company specializing in mixed-signal design and verification, and Kalray, a fabless semiconductor company developing many-core processors, have successfully used the Keysight EEsof EDA simulation tool suite to validate PCI Express (PCIe®) Gen3 serial links on Kalray’s MPPA TurboCard2.

The MPPA TurboCard2 is a family of powerful, low-power PCIe acceleration board for servers, workstations and PCs, featuring four embedded MPPA many-core processors. Engineers can use Kalray TurboCard boards to accelerate many compute intensive applications, such as video encoding, seismic processing, image and signal processing, finance, numerical simulation, and life sciences.

“Full-speed PCIe Gen3 is essential to unleashing the power of our TurboCard2’s four on-board MPPA chips,” said Laurent Julliard, director of solution, service and support at Kalray. “Enabling such high-speed serial links requires a lot of care and expertise in the design; much more than is required with PCIe Gen2 technology. This expertise would not have been accessible to us without the use of Keysight simulation tool suite.”

The Keysight simulation tool suite comprises the Advanced Design System (ADS) electronic design automation software for RF, microwave, and high-speed digital applications and Momentum 3D planar electromagnetic (EM) simulator. To validate the PCIe Gen3 serial links on Kalrays’ MPPA TurboCard2, Asygn first used Momentum to perform an EM extraction of the PCI lanes and its potential aggressors. Areas-of-interest were jointly defined with Kalray and a potential aggressor – a 12-V command to a nearby DC/DC regulator on the same layer as the PCI lanes – was identified.

Asygn then used ADS to simulate the PCIe lane with its aggressor and confirm the issue. ADS produced an eye diagram showing perturbation as the 12-V signal was activated. ADS was also used to efficiently “sanity check” and confirm other potential aggressors.

“The results from Keysight’s ADS and Momentum tools were essential in preventing board issues and allowed us to bring up fully functional PCIe Gen3 communication in just a few days,” said Daniel Saias, president of Asygn. “We look forward to using Keysight tools with our other customers to ensure we can quickly anticipate and correct any board-level issues within their high-speed IOs.”

“This is a clear example of how our simulation tools can help engineers achieve high data rates in large-size, high-density PCBs like the TurboCard2,” said Colin Warwick, product manager for Keysight EDA. “ADS Momentum in particular, with its combination of high accuracy and very reasonable simulation times, is the ideal electromagnetic tool for analyzing signal integrity effects in PCBs. We were delighted that it was able to help Asygn and Kalray bring their products to market with full functionality and in shorter time.”

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