By Roger Kang
How many times has this happened to you—you waited for an hour to complete the loading of a layout file, only to have the job abort at 99% because the machine ran out of memory or disk space? Now you’ve wasted that hour, plus you have to find another machine with enough physical memory, or spend time cleaning up disk space, before rerunning your job. So much for your productivity that day. Even worse, that extra time might delay the tapeout schedule.
As more content goes into an integrated circuit (IC) design layout, the layout file size can easily exceed hundreds of gigabytes! These large layout files contain more geometries, more cells, more placements, and more hierarchy levels, all of which contribute to higher memory requirements when loading and displaying files. Layout loading time quickly becomes a schedule and resource issue when viewing larger layout contents and running physical verifications like design rule checking (DRC) and layout vs. schematic (LVS) processes. Layout files that contain a huge number of properties consume huge amounts of memory when processing, increasing layout loading time even more.
Design companies facing tapeout delays often rush to purchase expensive file servers with fast disk I/O access and machines with terabytes of physical memory to enhance network speed and reduce layout file loading time. Which, if you really need them, is just the cost of doing business. But what if there was a way to get more out of the equipment you already have?
The Calibre® DESIGNrev™ chip finishing platform offers multiple modes and cache file options for reducing file size and load times. Together, these options provide a scalable, customizable solution that is not only less dependent on I/O, but also more efficient for multi-site collaboration. Design teams can use the Calibre DESIGNrev platform to quickly load and display the largest layouts on a typical engineering workstation.
Before you pull out that purchase order and start scheduling installation time, it might be worth your while to read our technical paper, Four ways to optimize layout loading time without capital investment. Maybe while you’re waiting for that large layout file to load…