Mentor’s PADS family extended for AMS, DDR and electrical DRC

By Paul Dempsey |  No Comments  |  Posted: July 11, 2016
Topics/Categories: Blog - PCB, - Product  |  Tags: , , , , , , ,  | Organizations:

Mentor Graphics has extended its mainstream PADS printed circuit board (PCB) creation and design platform with four new units addressing analog and mixed signal (AMS) implementation, simulation for the DDR memory family, and electrical DRC/validation/sign-off. The extensions draw heavily on the company’s well-established HyperLynx technology.

The additions reflect Mentor’s drive to evolve PADS from being seen primarily as a desktop design tool for small to medium-sized designs to one that can be used to power the design development process on increasingly complex projects. The company has also introduced a cloud-based AMS option to enable create collaboration both within companies using the tool and across the suite’s entire user base.

The new additions are:

  • The PADS AMS Design Suite
  • PADS AMS Cloud
  • PADS HyperLynx DDR
  • PADS HyperLynx DRC

The PADS AMS Design Suite

Almost all PCB projects need to make some connection to the real world, although until now the challenges that presents have been thought best dealt with by more expensive tools.

The AMS Design Suite is an add-on that allows engineers to design and simulate both their AMS and digital content in a single environment.

The suite uses the increasingly common VHDL-AMS extension of the VHDL description language and also draws upon Mentor’s existing HyperLynx technology for topological exploration.

The suite includes the most typical AMS simulation tasks – DC Bias, time-domain, and frequency-domain – but a number of “extended analysis capabilities” have also been bundled as standard in the new unit. These include multi-run parametric sweeps, sensitivity, Monte Carlo, and worst-case options.

Figure 1. Summary of the PADS AMS Design Suite (Mentor Graphics)

Figure 1. Summary of the AMS Design Suite (Mentor Graphics)


This feature offers, free to all users, both a cloud-based circuit exploration and simulation environment and access to a broader user community that will hopefully develop collaborative PCB AMS solutions.

By unhooking the suite from the desktop, it enables users to upload, download and collaborate on both dedicated AMS and mixed-technology designs and models online.

Where published, the circuit designs can then be downloaded directly to the desktop without any need for re-entering the material.

Figure 2. Summary of PADS AMS Cloud (Mentor Graphics)

Figure 2. Summary of AMS Cloud (Mentor Graphics)

PADS HyperLynx DDR

The use of memory meeting the various flavors of DDR has become nearly ubiquitous in PCB design. This option integrates the capabilities within Mentor’s HyperLynx technology for DDRx simulation covering both signal integrity (SI) issues (overshooting/undershooting, ringing) and timing challenges (set-up/hold, de-rating, skew, data bus margins).

Set-up is automated and results are reported through a dedicated ‘DDR Wizard’. ‘Pass’ or ‘fail’ results for entire interfaces are provided and all reports can be distributed in HTML including design documentation for web-based collaboration.

Figure 3. Summary of PADS HyperLynx DDR (Mentor Graphics)

Figure 3. Summary of HyperLynx DDR (Mentor Graphics)

PADS HyperLynx DRC

HyperLynx again provides the foundation for the fourth of the new features. This introduces to the mainstream a number of integrity and performance checks previously associated with more advanced PCB design suites.

For example, there are out-of-the-box checks for EMI, SI and power integrity. The predefined DRC deck quickly detects such problems as traces crossing voids and changing reference planes on extremely complex designs.

Figure 4. Summary of PADS HyperLynx DRC (Mentor Graphics)

Figure 4. Summary of HyperLynx DRC (Mentor Graphics)

Competitive pricing

In keeping with Mentor’s attempts to develop PADS as a powerful range of PCB options for the mainstream, pricing across the entire Product Creation Platform including the new features is competitive. It ranges from $3,560 to $4,995 as various modules are added. Availability is immediate.

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