On December 1, Xilinx announced the immediate upgrade of all Vivado Design Suite editions to Vivado Design Suite HLx, bundling in the Vivado HLS C/C++ synthesis tool that’s been in use by advanced users and early adopters for the last three years. (See “All Vivado users now have access to C-level synthesis through free Vivado HLx upgrade. Free, as in FREE.”) The foremost FPGA industry watcher Kevin Morris of EE Journal has just published a review of Vivado HLx that’s packed with insightful comments explaining the situation and the many advantages of this upgrade far better than I can:
“In part, the technology has been out of reach by design. EDA companies put astronomical price tags on their high-level design tools – partly because of the extreme benefits (often more than 10x productivity, translating into much shorter design cycles) and partly because the new methodology required a considerable amount of support. EDA companies joked internally that they needed to ship an applications engineer (AE) with every copy of the software, just to keep the customer on track. Now, Xilinx is putting an end to all that.”
“The company already claims more users of high-level synthesis than the rest of the industry combined, but now Xilinx is going the rest of the distance to make high-level design the default approach for many applications. With the new Vivado Design Suite HLx editions, every edition includes Xilinx’s HLS technology. But, beyond HLS, the company has put together a comprehensive flow and ecosystem that should allow the average designer to take advantage of the enormous productivity, quality, and flexibility gains that high-level design can deliver.”
“Xilinx claims a 10-15x productivity improvement over conventional design methodologies on the first implementation, and as much as 40x on subsequent reworks of a design. Those are obviously some pretty staggering numbers. After all, who wouldn’t want to shrink a 1-year project into a single month?”
“The Xilinx HLx solutions go far beyond simply including high-level tools in the suite. Xilinx is combining tools, IP, reference designs, methodologies, and boards that work together to get you from zero to a working design in the shortest possible time. The platform itself does most of the heavy lifting – particularly on the non-differentiating parts of your design.”
I invite you to read Morris’ full article on the EE Journal Web site.
I also invite you to download and try out the tools. Even the no-cost Vivado HLx WebPACK Edition now gives you access to high-level synthesis.