Honeywell has been actively involved in the definition of the next generation display processors for military and commercial cockpits. A major concern is how to achieve super graphics workstation performance in avionics application. Most notable are requirements for low volume, low power, harsh environmental conditions, real-time performance and low cost. This paper describes the application of VHDL to the system analysis tasks associated with achieving these goals in a cost effective manner. The paper will describe the top level architecture identified to provide the graphical and video processing power needed to drive future high resolution display devices and to generate more natural panoramic 3D formats. The major discussion, however, will be on the use of VHDL to model the processing elements and customized pipelines needed to realize the architecture and for doing the complex system tradeoff studies necessary to achieve a cost effective implementation. New software tools have been developed to allow 'virtual' prototyping in the VHDL environment. This results in a hardware/software codesign using VHDL performance and functional models. This unique architectural tool allows simulation and tradeoffs within a standard and tightly integrated toolset, which eventually will be used to specify and design the entire system from the top level requirements and system performance to the lowest level individual ASICs. New processing elements, algorithms, and standard graphical inputs can be designed, tested and evaluated without the costly hardware prototyping using the innovative 'virtual' prototyping techniques which are evolving on this project. In addition, virtual prototyping of the display processor does not bind the preliminary design to point solutions as a physical prototype will. when the development schedule is known, one can extrapolate processing elements performance and design the system around the most current technology.