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Certus ASIC Prototyping Debug Solution Datasheet

Providing Full RTL-Level Visibility for Multi-FPGA Prototypes

Providing Full RTL-Level Visibility for Multi-FPGA Prototypes

Features & Benefits

  • Full RTL-level Visibility
  • Single Time-correlated System View of ASIC Design
  • Compressed, Loss-less System-scale Time Captures
  • Cycle-accurate Conditional Capture
  • RTL-level Naming including Complex and Enumerated Types
  • Complex, Multi-state Triggering
  • Seamless Integration with FPGA Vendor CAD Flows



Certus design flow.

Certus ASIC prototyping solution provides full RTL-level visibility into multi-FPGA prototyping platforms to change the way engineers approach ASIC prototyping, break critical bottlenecks, and substantially reduce cost and time to comprehensively verify complex ASIC design.

Certus is a flexible and proven solution for your most complex debug challenges. Certus can be used on all high-end Xilinx or Altera FPGAs and across a wide range of existing FPGA prototyping boards regardless of the I/O or FPGA topology of your particular ASIC design. Certus requires no special I/O, connectors, or FPGA topology. Simple JTAG connectivity allows full time-correlated debug across FPGAs.

Certus Implementor

The easy-to-use Certus Implementor tool applies advanced proprietary algorithms to help you quickly select thousands of signals of interest to create full visibility. All modifications are done at the RTL-level and work seamlessly through the Xilinx, Altera, Mentor, or Synopsys tool flows.

The Implementor can be used before or after partitioning of the design in a multi-FPGA system.

Certus Analyzer

During verification, the capture probes are managed by the Certus Analyzer tool through the JTAG port. Complex triggers are easy to set up. The Certus Analyzer also takes the resulting highly compressed captures and uses proprietary algorithms to recreate the internal chip data and to time-correlate the captures from different clock domains and FPGAs into one view.



Operating System Support

Ubuntu 9 (32 and 64 bit)

Ubuntu 10 (32 and 64 bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (32 and 64 bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (32 and 64 bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 (32 and 64 bit)

Windows XP (32 and 64 bit) – Analyzer only

Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit) – Analyzer only

Language Support

IEEE 1076-1993/1987 (VHDL)

IEEE 1800-2009 (SystemVerilog)

IEEE 1364-2001 (Verilog)

“Mixed-language” combinations of the above

Target FPGA

JTAG Probes

Altera USB-Blaster

All Xilinx JTAG Probes (Xilinx Impact 12.4 or later must be installed)

Amontec JTAGKey, JTAGKey2

JTAG TAP Interfaces

Altera TAP

Xilinx Virtex-4, Virtex-5, Virtex-6, Virtex-7, Spartan-3, Spartan-6, Kintex-7 TAPs

Tektronix-supplied JTAG TAP

FPGA Synthesis Tools/Flows

Mentor Precision (2010a or later)

Synopsys Synplify (2010.09 or later)

Xilinx ISE (12.4 or later)

Altera Quartus (11.0 or later)



- Bit- and word-level compression of trace data before storage (independent per capture station) with potential compression ratios >1000X

- Inter-station cross-triggering between all capture stations including across FPGAs

- External trigger-in/trigger-out – requires two dedicated FPGA I/O pins

Number of Independent Capture Stations per FPGA1 to 255
Number of Instrumented FPGAs per JTAG Chain1 to 63
Station Widths (Configurable per capture station)16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024
Station Storage RAM Sizes (Configurable per station)1 Kbits to 8 Mbits
Maximum Capture Station Operating Frequency (Measured on Virtex-5 FPGA)Up to 150 MHz
Any-Signal-Any-Time Bit-level Signal SelectionUp to 128 K signals per station
Flexible Instrumentation Options to Allow Lightweight Capture Scenarios

LUT utilization formula:

LUT Cost (measured on Virtex-6) ~= 1500 + 3000(m/128) + 1n

m = maximum simultaneous observations

n = total number of observable signals



- RTL-level naming for VHDL, Verilog, and SystemVerilog during instrumentation

- Automatic clock discovery during instrumentation

- Automatic assignment of observed signals to clock capture stations during instrumentation

- Equivalent signal identification (prevents re-instrumenting of redundant RTL structures)

- Hierarchical signal browsing during signal selection in Implementor

- GUI or TCL-based Batch mode for Implementor

- Implementor project file to enable efficient re-instrumentation of existing RTL

- Minimum impact "in-place" modification of original design RTL

- Automatic black-boxing of unknown modules

- User-controlled black-boxing of modules pre-elaboration (increases runtime performance)

Instrumentable RTL Constructs

Input Ports

Output Ports

Sequential Elements

Combinational Signals

Base elements of multi-dimensional arrays (all languages)

Base elements of complex data types and interfaces (VHDL and SystemVerilog)

Enumerated types (VHDL and SystemVerilog)

OptiRank (Design or block level)

State Machine Identification Output Ports

Critical Node Identification

Critical Node Ranking

Automatic Signal Selection during Instrumentation (at any design level)

All inputs

All outputs

All flip-flops

All state bits

Import of Signal Selection in Implementor from Existing Formats

Verdi session file

DVE session file

Plain Text




- Time correlation of capture station data across clock domains and FPGAs (single coherent waveform view from all instruments)

- GUI or command-line based Batch mode for Analyzer

- Analyzer project with unlimited named configurations to store signal selections and triggers

- VCD file generation to enable waveform viewing with industry-standard waveform viewers

- User-configurable automatic launch of waveform viewer from Analyzer window

- RTL-level naming for analysis and data presentation

- Hierarchical browsing of signals during signal selection in Analyzer

- Automatic real-time frequency detection on a per capture station basis

Time-aware Conditional Capture

Continuous mode

Windowing mode

Bus-based TriggeringUp to width of capture station
Multi-state triggeringUp to 2 states per station

Ordering Information



Will Shelhamer

Director of Sales, Embedded Instrumentation

Phone: 949.753.5628

Mobile: 760.683.4797

General Enquiries: [email protected]