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First Annual FPGA Journal Awards

We Tell You Your Favorites

Over the course of the first year, we’ve had a tremendous amount of feedback and input from you, our readers. We’ve also done several formal surveys and studies that have spanned the entire year, with follow-up e-mails to many of you to clarify just what you meant by assertions like “…works very reliably except when it fails.” Here, then, we are proud to present back to you some of the things you told us – your favorite suppliers and products in a variety of categories – in the form of awards.

The primary data for determining the winners came from our online surveys of completed FPGA projects. Respondents were those who had completed a real FPGA project within the past year, and answers were tabulated based on responses related to those completed projects. We asked you to rank the importance of a number of factors in choosing your device, your tools, and the vendors that sold them to you. We then asked you to rate how well your particular vendors and products performed in each of those categories. We multiplied the importance by the performance, averaged the responses for each vendor and product, and – voila! The scorecard for the First Annual FPGA Journal Awards was born.

Without further pageantry, and with no celebrities or comedians to read the results, here are the winners:

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s tools:

Altera for their Quartus II suite of design tools

You told us that Altera has made great strides in its tool suite over the past two years, particularly with the performance and quality of the Quartus II place-and-route tools. They also got high marks from many for their SOPC Builder embedded system tools working with their Nios soft processor core.

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s support:

Xilinx for their support staff, application engineers, documentation, and website

You told us that Xilinx consistently sets the standard for support staff and resources that understand your problems and their products and go the extra mile to make you successful in your project.

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s devices:

Lattice Semiconductor for their CPLD devices

You told us that, while CPLD may not be the glamour segment of the programmable logic industry, Lattice devices consistently and reliably deliver the features and performance that the datasheet claims, solving your CPLD problems in a cost-effective, reliable manner.

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an EDA vendor’s HDL simulator performance, capacity, and reliability:

Mentor Graphics for their ModelSim simulator

You told us that, in addition to being the dominant HDL simulator in the FPGA market, ModelSim delivers best in many of the categories most important to design teams working against a schedule. This was actually three separate categories, and ModelSim swept them all.

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an EDA vendor’s HDL simulator price/value and ease-of-use:

Aldec for their ActiveHDL simulator

You told us that Aldec’s simulator is extremely approachable and easy to learn. You like Aldec’s whole-solution approach to simulation and debug and their clear focus on FPGA design in particular. You also found Aldec’s tools to be an outstanding value for the price.

Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an EDA vendor’s synthesis tool’s performance, quality of results, reliability, and ease of use:

Synplicity for their Synplify and Synplify-Pro tools

You told us that Synplicity’s products clearly lead the synthesis field for FPGA. Many of you said you were happy to pay the additional cost of Synplicity’s 3 rd party tools over the FPGA vendor-supplied synthesis products in order to get vendor independence, an edge on quality of results, HDL language support, and “blazing fast compile times.”

Well, there they are – our first year winners. There will be no little gold statues (hey, we’re on a budget here) or long acceptance speeches. It pays to note that many of these were very close competitions on our rating system, but subjective feedback from follow-up e-mails never failed to validate our winners. With all the exciting new product announcements and introductions of the past few months, we expect that the next year will be even more interesting.

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