Last year, with little fanfare, we presented our first annual FPGA Journal Reader’s choice awards. The response was fantastic, and everybody wanted to know how they could participate in this year’s awards process… It doesn’t work that way, of course. We use a super-secret balloting system and carefully guard the data to prevent any unscrupulous parties from tampering with the results.
This year, over 350 design teams answered our call to rate their experience with FPGA and EDA companies’ products and services. Each customer was required to answer based on a specific design project that they’d already completed, and they were allowed to give responses based only on the products and services they’d actually used. (A user of vendor A’s tools was not allowed to rate vendor B’s products.) We also normalized the results to be sure that nobody had an advantage based on number of responses. We wanted the little guys with just a few customers to have just as good an opportunity to win as some of the big companies with hundreds of users responding.
We double-dog checked the answers (even, cleverly, the IP addresses, e-mail domains and other data that needed to match) to be sure that there were no sneaky faux FPGA users trying to skew the sanctity of our results. To the best of our ability, we certify the following results as accurate within our survey samples.
So, once again, still with no comedians or celebrities to read the results and completely devoid of little gold statues, are the winners of FPGA Journal’s second annual reader’s choice awards:
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s tools:
Xilinx for their ISE design tools suite
You told us that Xilinx has made “significant improvements” to their tool suite over the past year, particularly in the DSP and embedded design areas.
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s support:
Xilinx for their support staff, application engineers,
Once again, you told us that Xilinx consistently sets the standard for support staff and resources, particularly with their “robust website” and ”responsive and knowledgeable application engineers.”
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an FPGA vendor’s devices:
Xilinx for their Virtex and Spartan FPGAs
You told us that Xilinx continues to lead the pack in performance and features, and goes the extra mile in “explaining how to use their devices for [your] particular class of application.”
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an EDA vendor’s HDL simulator performance, ease-of-use and reliability:
Mentor Graphics for their ModelSim simulator
This year, ModelSim swept all categories in reader satisfaction. You told us that ModelSim “continues to improve for FPGA use” and is “consistently of high value in debugging” your designs.
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with a synthesis tool’s performance, ease-of-use, reliability, quality of results, and language support:
Synplicity for their Synplify-Pro synthesis tool
You told us that Synplicity’s Synplify-Pro clearly set the standard in five of the six categories we measured. Synplify Pro also got the highest rating we measured in any category with its “ease-of-use” score.
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with synthesis tool’s analysis capability:
Mentor Graphics for their Precision synthesis
In the final synthesis category, Mentor Graphics Precision edged Synplicity’s Synplify-Pro. You told us that Mentor’s timing analysis and constraint environment were “very nice for chasing down those last two timing problems that just won’t go away.”.
Highest reader/customer satisfaction with an EDA vendor’s customer support:
You told us Mentor’s customer support line was “consistently superior in response time, helpful support engineers, and resolving [your] problems” in a timely manner.
Well, there they are – our second year winners. Once again, there will be no acceptance speeches and no lavish after-award parties. Once again, 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. Once again, with all the exciting new product announcements and introductions coming our way, we expect that the next year will be another epic battle.