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Old 04-21-2006, 05:03 PM
johnp
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Default More Xilinx S/W problems... ISE won't start

I installed SP3 for ISE 8.1 (webpack) yesterday and used it for a bit.

I then ran a multi-pass P&R, then, when it was done, killed the program
and
shut down my computer. When I started up today, ISE won't run. I get
the start-up windows, but it appears to hang with the process _pn.exe
running. Windows task manager reports that "Xilinx - ISE" is "Not
Responding".

Anyone else run into this?

Is it just me, or does the Xilinx s/w appear to be getting worse? The
user
interface on 8.1 seems very slow when compared to 6.1. XST takes
a lot longer than it used to. If it weren't for the updated speed
files,
I'd go back to 6.1 in a heart beat.

John Providenza

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Old 04-21-2006, 05:16 PM
johnp
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Default Re: More Xilinx S/W problems... ISE won't start

I found a work-around - I delete the bulk of the files from my
working directory including the .ise file and now ISE starts
up. I copied in an older 6.1 .npl file and told ISE to convert it
to the newer 8.1 project file.

John Providenza

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Old 04-23-2006, 03:10 PM
Terry Brown
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Default Re: More Xilinx S/W problems... ISE won't start

John,

You will now spend most of your time creating "workarounds" for Xilinx
8.1.

I finally gave up and went back to 6.3 yesterday.

Various 8.1 problems I have seen:

1. The "humongous project file bug"--in this one, your ise project grows
to perhaps gigabytes in size, takes forever (20-30 minutes) to load and
then doesn't work. The "workaround" is to blow away the project file
and start over. Hmm . . . why am I doing this again? This appears to be
fixed by service pack 3.

2. Coregen doesn't run--crashes and wants to talk with Microsoft. This
is better in service pack 3--at least I could run it from the gui,
although it still crashed if I tried to run it separately.

3. The "multipass par fools you" bug. In this one, you run a multipass,
find a seed that gives good results, copy the files back, then run par
only to find that the timing is now awful.

4. The "can't really run these apps" bug. I normally use my own control
app to run the tools from the command line, parse the error file and use
timingan.exe if necessary. Now timingan.exe won't run--nothing happens.
Still runs if I execute it from the ISE gui. The same is true--at
times--of all the gui apps like fpga_editor.exe and such. They won't even
run from Windows Explorer--brief hourglass, then nothing. No log files,
nothing. They still run from the gui.

5. The "oops the bitfile is too big" bug. Run fpga_editor independently
(when it works), define probes, generate bitfile from the probes dialog.
The bitfile for a 2vp30 is now 35 bytes too long and won't load properly.
Run fpga_editor from the gui, do the same thing and all is well.

6. The "can't do anything even in the gui" bug. In this one, you can't
run any processes anywhere. The ISE gui runs, but if you try to run a
process (map, par, whatever), all the wheels spin briefly, then show
errors for the process, but no log files are created. Forcing run with
"rerun" doesn't work--nothing works. The "workaround" is again to blow
away the project file.

Bottom line is that even after three (3!) service packs, the 8.1 tools are
unusable for real work. It was taking me most of a day to discover
the next "workaround" so I could build bits when it should take an hour.
After struggling to get timing closure on Friday, I gave up, went back to 6.3,
ran multipass and had perfect timing bits in an hour and a half.

We are looking at upgrading our board to use a Virtex-4, but that may
require using version 8 of the tools and I think we'll evaulate Altera
seriously now--at least then maybe I could get some work done.


Terry Brown


On Fri, 21 Apr 2006 09:16:19 -0700, johnp wrote:

> I found a work-around - I delete the bulk of the files from my
> working directory including the .ise file and now ISE starts
> up. I copied in an older 6.1 .npl file and told ISE to convert it
> to the newer 8.1 project file.
>
> John Providenza


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Old 05-12-2006, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: More Xilinx S/W problems... ISE won't start

I've been running into a similar problem recently. For me, ISE would
freeze after the prompt that asked if I wanted to unlocked the project
file, or would just never load (and eat up 99% of the CPU).

It seems to work if I replace the .ise file with a backed-up .ise file,
then actually delete the .lock file before starting up ISE. From
browsing Xilinx support it looks like there may be issues with ISE
corrupting the .ise file on a crash. I'd recommend keeping your own
backup (NOT the automatic backup) of the .ise file. Wonder why could
they didn't just keep the project file a simple ASCII file like the old
..npl?

I agree that ISE stability has gone downhill. Altera had a lot of
customers defect after their first buggy Quartus tools--Xilinx should
take note.

Brian Walkington

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