Since its acquisition of Electronics Workbench and its printed-circuit board (PCB) design and analysis tools, National Instruments has sought to meld those tools with the stuff of its core competency—namely, virtual instrumentation and effective capture and application of real-world signals in a simulation environment.
The result is embodied in Multisim 10.0 (see figure) and Ultiboard 10.0, which are the latest versions of NI's interactive Spice simulation and circuit analysis software for schematic capture, interactive simulation, board layout, and integrated testing.
In these tools, NI has gone deeper in its efforts to incorporate virtual instrumentation into simulation to reduce iterations. It brings graphical system design, a concept more often related to the worlds of algorithm work, into the context of hardware design. Further, it paves the way for users without a great deal of Spice expertise
Among the improvements in Multisim 10.0 is a greatly expanded model database. Over 1200 models for components from Analog Devices, Linear Technology Corp., and Texas Instruments have been added. Over 16,400 components are now represented. Also, a new "convergence assistant" tool finds and resolves Spice-simulation setting errors not by changing the circuit in any way, but rather by changing simulation parameters.
Enhanced visualization tools enable users to probe their circuits and take measurements. This feature bridges the gap between interactive simulation and the advanced analysis capabilities built into Multisim. With the visualization tools, interactive static probes can be placed anywhere in the circuit for differential measurements.
Multisim 10.0 can be purchased as a complete, integrated design and test platform that includes Ultiboard 10.0 and LabVIEW SignalExpress, the interactive measurement software that improves productivity by controlling all instruments on a benchtop. U.S. list prices start at $1499.