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Fluent’s Introduces Icechip™ Software for IC Thermal Design
Posted Wed February 16, 2005 @09:31AM
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News Fluent Inc., the world leader in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software solutions, announces the release of Icechip™, a new package-level thermal validation software for IC package designers.

Icechip is an addition to the portfolio of design simulation and verification tools from the Icepak division of Fluent Inc. These include Icepak, the system-level thermal design tool; Iceboard, the PCB-level thermal verification software; and Icemax, the parasitics extraction tool for IC packages. Icechip is designed to increase the fidelity of package thermal design by modeling details of IC package structures and it significantly reduces the turnaround time for simulations of today’s increasingly complex IC packages. The tool is developed in collaboration with Harvard Thermal, the industry expert in the use of ECAD-based interfaces to thermal simulation software.


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Detailed thermal design is a critical challenge in improving the performance and reliability of IC devices today. Capturing the IC package design details from EDA layout packages (Encore BGA from Synopsys or Allegro APD from Cadence) is the key to accurate thermal modeling of these complex package structures. Icechip allows for the direct import of package layouts from Encore and APD. Icechip models can be generated and simulations can be launched from within both packages. In addition, Icechip is designed to read in the native APD (.mcm file format) and import the package details. Once the package data is read into Icechip, an intuitive graphical interface guides the user through input of thermal conditions and material properties to set up the thermal model for simulation. A simple, easy to use interface allows the user to perform parametric analyses for multiple cases and report results from many simulations for design evaluations.

Another important element of Icechip is that it is designed to perform detailed thermal analysis inclusive of IC package substrates, traces, vias, non-uniform heat generation, wire bonds, and solder balls. It also handles all varieties of IC package types including wirebond or flipchip BGAs, stacked die configurations, and Multi-Chip Modules (MCMs). Icechip therefore directly handles every degree of detail and all types of emerging packages thus eliminating expensive, manual, and time consuming procedures used in conventional design flows.

“The focus of Icechip is to dramatically cut down the time required for design simulations by reducing the effort involved in getting the package layout information into the simulation tool, employing methods to effectively handle the degree of detail in today’s IC packages, using fast and efficient mesh generation that take advantage of the latest technologies and the unique characteristics of packaging structures, and fast solution technologies,” says Rajesh Nair, Icepak Product Manager. “Icechip is the combination of all the above pieces in a user-friendly environment”, he adds. Icechip couples well with Harvard Thermal’s tools and their president, David Rosato comments: “Our unique methodology to generate models for complex IC packages provides tremendous depth and flexibility. This flexibility ensures that users can handle any package style today and in the future.”

Pricing and Availability

Icechip is now available worldwide through Fluent’s network of offices and distributors for an annual cost of $US17,000 per seat.

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