Cadence PCB success stories

IBM and Cadence

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The Customer IBM has been the bellwether in mainframe computing for more than 50 years. Today, it continues to lead the way in large-scale design, creating mainframe computers that employ printed circuit boards (PCBs) measuring as large as 50cm x 60cm. Unlike bulky old-fashioned boards, these are enormous configurations of super-miniaturized components. A single board can carry tens of thousands of signal interconnects in more than 10 layers of circuitry. Adding to this complexity, pin counts reach 5,000 per component—with many wide buses connecting them—while at the board level there may be more than 5,000 connections. The Challenge While these statistics are impressive, the design challenges that IBM faces are similar to those faced by any PCB designer. For example, once a circuit design involves hundreds of signals on a large bus, traditional schematics can be cumbersome and time- consuming to work with and analyze. IBM sought to simplify input and manipulation by developing its own solution based on entering the design attributes of each signal in a table or spreadsheet format. However, this created another step in the process—engineers then had to convert the information into Hardware Description Language (HDL) to interface with the design platform. IBM engineers also found they could not treat analog elements in this way; they still had to configure them manually. IBM and Cadence "The Cadence solution enables us to enter up to 99% of signals in table format, which, along with improved analytics and a unique integrated environment, reduces our PCB development time by 80%." Gisbert Thomke, Group Leader, IBM R&D Lab Germany Business Challenge • Shorten time-to-market for mainframe computer designs requiring highly complex PCB systems Design Challenges • World's most complex PCBs • Large designs, multiple wide buses • High component pin counts and thousands of board connections Cadence Solutions • Allegro System Architect GXL • Allegro PCB Editor Results • Integrated platform—from input to final design • Tabular input of signal information for faster compilations

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