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Digital Workbench: Increasing Design Productivity

How to improve design engineering productivity using Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series

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Increasing Design Productivity with Digital Workbenches

IT Brief: Computer Manufacturing and 64-Bit Computing

Increasing Design Productivity with Digital Workbenches

In Intel IT tests simulating the daily workflow of a silicon design engineer, a digital workbench based on the Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series completed multiple, concurrent electronic design automation (EDA) application workloads 2.9x faster than a workstation based on the Intel® Xeon® processor 5100 series, and 1.53x faster than a workstation based on Intel® Xeon® processor 5400 series. Performance comparisons are shown in Figure 1. Digital workbenches are high-performance dual-processor workstations, based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, that let engineers create and test designs more quickly using multiple EDA applications concurrently. This allows faster design iterations with more-demanding design workloads, accelerating product time to market. It also allows for more validation cycles, enabling improvements in product quality. In our tests, each system ran multiple front-end and back-end EDA applications operating on real Intel silicon design workloads. A dual-processor digital workbench based on Intel Xeon processor W5580 ran eight EDA applications concurrently—2x as many as a dual-processor workstation based on Intel Xeon processor 5160—and completed each workload faster than the other systems tested.

Business Challenge

Design engineers at Intel face the challenges of integrating more features into ever-shrinking silicon chips, bringing products to market faster, and keeping engineering design and manufacturing costs low. In a typical workday, each design engineer works simultaneously on several of the functional blocks of a silicon design. For each block, the engineer uses an iterative design method in which each front-end (logical) design stage is followed by a corresponding back-end (physical) design stage, as shown in Figure 2. Each of these design stages is supported by EDA applications that run on engineering workstations based on Intel® Xeon® processors. Each application workload is processor-intensive and can take from several minutes to hours to complete.

Read the full Increasing Design Productivity Brief.