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moon5756
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Registered: ‎09-05-2015

Synplify vs Vivado synthesis

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Hi all, I recently moved to an ASIC company, and here people use Synplify for synthesis and use the result to place and route in Vivado.

I am very familiar with Vivado flow but am entirely new to Synplify. Can anyone share some experience on choosing Synplify over Vivado for synthesis, or the other way around?

A coworker here once said that Synplify usually results in a better quality synthesized design, which I am not 100% buying nor there's no some clear evidence. I want to hear some thoughts.

 

Thanks in advance.

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richardhead
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Registered: ‎08-01-2012

It definitely used to be the case in the ISE days that just about any other synth engine was better than Xilinx tools. Synopsys sales would talk about how much better their synth was compared to Xilinx. But they would openly say they couldnt do any better than Quartus for Altera. But ISE always had a very bad reputation for synthesis. Even in a company where we made boards with FPGAs (not asics), we still never used ISE synthesis and used Synplify instead.

It wouldnt be surprising. Xilinx have software available as a means to sell chips - so usually software is a not the main event. Synopsys do not make chips (but they do make boards for ASIC emulation) but their software is key to their success, hence it is in their interest to get their software working the way their customers want it, which for synthesis means being better than Vivado/Quartus/Cadence etc. Afaik they are generally pretty quick supporting new coding standards too (its taken 10 years to get decent VHDL2008 support in Vivado, Afaik Synopsys had it in 2009!). Xilinx is in the main business of making bigger and faster chips, and the software is geared to making their chips available to the biggest market possible - which now means focusing on the HLS market with HLS/Vitis/NameOfTheMonth.

 

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richardhead
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Registered: ‎08-01-2012

It definitely used to be the case in the ISE days that just about any other synth engine was better than Xilinx tools. Synopsys sales would talk about how much better their synth was compared to Xilinx. But they would openly say they couldnt do any better than Quartus for Altera. But ISE always had a very bad reputation for synthesis. Even in a company where we made boards with FPGAs (not asics), we still never used ISE synthesis and used Synplify instead.

It wouldnt be surprising. Xilinx have software available as a means to sell chips - so usually software is a not the main event. Synopsys do not make chips (but they do make boards for ASIC emulation) but their software is key to their success, hence it is in their interest to get their software working the way their customers want it, which for synthesis means being better than Vivado/Quartus/Cadence etc. Afaik they are generally pretty quick supporting new coding standards too (its taken 10 years to get decent VHDL2008 support in Vivado, Afaik Synopsys had it in 2009!). Xilinx is in the main business of making bigger and faster chips, and the software is geared to making their chips available to the biggest market possible - which now means focusing on the HLS market with HLS/Vitis/NameOfTheMonth.

 

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dpaul24
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Registered: ‎08-07-2014

I would 2nd what richardhead says.

In a previous company I was doing ASIC emulation using FPGA. Those were ISE days and in the project I used VCS for sim,  Synplify Pro for synth and PnR was only done by ISE.

Now with Vivado, Xilinx claims their synth and PnR engines have been improved. I do not have any info to compare.

Can anyone share some experience on choosing Synplify over Vivado for synthesis, or the other way around?

You may try this as an evaluation - take a moderately large silicon proven design and synth it using Vivado and Synplify. Then check out the synth log file specially the Utilization report. That would show stuff to you!!!

In the end it all boils down to the tools you have at your disposal. If I have Synplify, I would gladly choose it over any other tool.

------------FPGA enthusiast------------
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